FRANCIS CHIPALO and MUKWIMA CHILALA
ZAMBIAN football legend Kalusha Bwalya should be a cat with 9 lives in Zambian football having survived the April 28, 1993 Gabon crash that cost the lives of all his teammates.
The Zambian Captain came back strong to lead his country to a final of the AfCON against Nigeria in 1994 where lost los 1-2 to the Super Eagles.
Just as he came back strong in 1993, the Zambian legend could be on his way back in the game following the partial lifting of a FIFA ban he suffered last August, which entails that he is now free to participate in all football activities home and away.
Zambia’s former African Footballer of the Year, Kalusha Bwalya, has had his two-year ban from all football activities reduced on appeal by football’s world body FIFA.
Back in August, Fifa banned Bwalya – then a Confederation of African Football (CAF) executive committee member for accepting a gift, which violated Fifa’s code of ethics. This followed an investigation into his links to banned Qatari official Mohammed Bin Hammam.
However, aged 55 and former Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president has always denied any wrongdoing.
On Monday, Fifa said its appeal panel had reduced Bwalya’s ban to the time he had already served, while his fine was also cut to 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,090) from 100,000 Swiss francs ($100,900) which is about K120, 000.
“The Fifa Appeal Committee decided to reduce the duration of the ban from taking part in any football-related activity imposed on Mr Bwalya to the period already served at the time of the notification of the present decision.
“As a consequence, the ban imposed on Mr Bwalya ended upon notification of the decision of the Fifa Appeal Committee,”it reported
Bwalya said he was “happy and relieved to be back in the game” and he thanked those who had supported him.
Bwalya, at the time of the investigation withdrew his candidacy for a Fifa council seat.
The lifting of Bwalya’s two-year ban by FIFA has come at a time when his services in helping develop the local game are probably needed most.
Our football has been reeling as national team has failed to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on two consecutive occasions, which is not good for Zambia’s pedigree.
Bwalya is now free to participate in football matters, especially for his country, which needs help having been in struggle ship of late.
Bwalya was a player, coach and administrator at the highest level, should play an important role so that the glory days are back.
Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo who described the lifting of Kalusha’s ban as landmark decision by the Appeals Committee and also pledged to pay his fine and urged FAZ and the football family to put the failures of the past few years behind and use the ground breaking ruling as an opportunity to get Zambian football back to winning ways.
“The coming back of Kalusha into the fold means that the nation and the rest of Africa can again benefit from his unrivaled expertise in football administration,” Lusambo said.
In banning the 1988, Zambian footballer of the year the FIFA ethics committee said Kalusha Bwalya had violated the FIFA article 16 and 20 of the FIFA code of conducts.
‘’The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has banned Kalusha Bwalya, member of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), for two years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
The investigation against Mr Bwalya was opened on 28 February 2017, and focused principally on benefits that Mr Bwalya had received from Mr Bin Hammam.
The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Bwalya guilty of having violated art. 16 (Confidentiality) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. A fine in the amount of CHF 100,000 was also imposed on Mr Bwalya,’’ the statement said.
In reaction to his July 28 ban, Kalusha Bwalya promised to fight his ban tooth and nail saying he had not done anything wrong.
‘’ I have never done and will never do anything to bring the beautiful game into disrepute and stand by the facts provided by me to the committee.
I unfortunately cannot provide any further details as my legal team has advised that this would jeopardize my chances of obtaining leave to appeal.
FIFA’s decision is not final and I will fight tooth and nail for justice to clear my name,’’ he said.
With his return to the game that he has served for decades which includes 30 years of playing and many other years of administration having being to the many Africa Cup of nations both as a player and administrator, a section of soccer fans are calling upon the 2012 Africa Cup winning president to return to the fore and help salvage the falling standards in the Zambian game.
Below is a full Fifa report on
FIFA Appeal Committee partially upholds appeal lodged by Kalusha Bwalya
The FIFA Appeal Committee has partially upheld the appeal lodged by Mr Kalusha Bwalya, the former President of the Football Association of Zambia and member of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football, and reduced the sanction previously imposed by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in its decision dated 12 April 2018.
After analysing and taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, the FIFA Appeal Committee decided to reduce the duration of the ban from taking part in any football-related activity imposed on Mr Bwalya to the period already served at the time of the notification of the present decision.
As a consequence, the ban imposed on Mr Bwalya ended upon notification of the decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee. Furthermore, a fine of CHF 10,000 has been imposed on Mr Bwalya.
The decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee was notified to Mr Bwalya today, and came into force immediately.- fifa.com