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Zambia win was no fluke

African football is growing steadily and I like that this has been happening despite the difficulties that are associated with the beautiful game, like sponsorship and poor management.

In the past two months I was honoured to be in Zambia, the country that won the 2012 African Cup of Nations, where I covered the league and eventually the Barclays Zambia Cup, which was won by the underdogs, Napsa Stars.

When Zambia won the Afcon for their first time ever, a lot of people, including myself, thought that the team was merely lucky. When I visited the country I realised I was wrong.

First of all, it’s important to give credit where it is due by congratulating the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), under the leadership of Kalusha Bwalya, for the great job they are doing in managing the beautiful game in the country.

I was fascinated to see the level of organisation and seriousness in the local league and realised that to build a good football foundation one needs the structures. Zambia are lucky to have a man like Kalusha Bwalya at the helm. Some people might reason that a good footballer does not necessarily make a good manager. I think Kalusha has killed this myth, as he has emerged on top of the game and set the pace for other former great footballers to emulate.

I was excited to take note that youth structures, which are an integral part in building a formidable national team, were in place. That is why we are seeing young players coming from the ranks and getting into the national team. A case in point is the 19-year-old crowd darling Mukuka Mulenga, who left Kabwe Warriors to join Power Dynamos and is now among the players expected to drive the Chipolopolo midfield.

Covering the Barclays Cup was another milestone as I saw how the corporate world can bring glory to football as long as they achieve proper management.

Chipolopolo have the best chance to prove the doubters wrong by ensuring that they work hard and defend the title, which I know will not be a walk in the park. I stand by my words that Chipolopolo did not win the Afcon 2012 by fluke but they deserved the glittering trophy as they have the structures back at home that any footballing nation in Africa would be envious off.

Kalusha Bwalya's leadership is what many of the African football leaders should look up to and try to emulate. Kudos to Zambia for leading the pack.

twitter handle @bedjosessien

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