often close to the top, but
always 'almost' winners
star Kalusha Bwalya has returned
talented under-20 team
disastrous preperation odysee,
but administration crisis might have been cleared for the short term
everything possible: mediocre
performance to surprise team
among the best of Africa
list of players (includes age and where do they play
have been the big 'almosts' of African football. Losing a complete player
generation in an air crash tragedy during the World Cup campaign for 1994,
they came close to winning the Nations Cup anyway and as narrowly as they
were beaten in Tunis 1994 they were beaten on their way to the USA.
Even stronger they
were in 1996 but they were losing in the semi finals, when every ball took
the wrong bounce that day against Tunisia in South Africa. In 1998 they
reflected the alleged decline in the administrative work on the field and
their bright star Kalusha Bwalya, who plays professional football in Mexico,
resigned from the National team.
In the meantime he
has been persuaded to return and will have a last(?) try to win the cup.
In an ambiguity to their home problems, the copper shirts have come up
with a brilliant under20 team at the under20-world championships at Nigeria
99. The team went out in the first round in an emotional and unlucky match
against Brazil - matching perfectly the 'almost' image. Some of the players
of that team should already be included into the 2000 edition.
Sounds bright? Then this...
The already before
discussed preperations at North/Middle-America have turned into a desaster
and have been broken up. The Zambian Football Administration chiefs, in
constant quarrel with the government have resigned. The team, already returning
from an odysee, were refused accomodation at Zambian hotels because bills
of the past had not been payed. But some things seem to clear up now, as
with the resignation of officials decisions are no more blocked. For instance
player allowances owed have been paid, a matter that had spoiled concentration
of many African teams in the past.
How will the team
reflect this all? Some teams experiencing such things have come up with
surprises then, grown to a real team, but not every team has. How will
the new blend look like?
Another quite thrilled
awaited first stage appearance of this Nations Cup: From desaster to complete
surprise, everything is possible.