ZAMBIAN soccer players who have graced the local league in the past have been known not only for their high work rate, but extreme talent.
Names that quickly come to mind are Billie and the late Webster Chikabala of Mhangura and the former Highlanders duo of Charles “Chief” Chilufya and Kelvin Kaindu, who is now the club’s head coach.
The late Derby Mankinka who despite playing only a few games in Darryn T colours, became the first foreigner to be named as the Soccer Star of the Year finalist in 1991.
Dynamos fans are also still nostalgic of the exploits of Clive Mwale, Sandras “Chopper” Kumwenda and Francis Kasanda.
It is against this background that the Zambian duo of Derrick Kabwe and Arthur Kaseloki arrived at Dynamos at the start of the season.
Like doves, the two players have followed each other at each club they have played for since their school days at Luanshya Boys High School from Roan United, Zesco United and presently Dynamos.
Even in failure, as has been the case at Dynamos where they spent more time sitting in the terraces either nursing injuries or having failed to make the grade in the final 18, they have stuck together.
Signed from Zambia’s Zesco United, Kabwe arrived at Dynamos as a proven scorer while Kaseloki’s moniker — “Dunga” — after the legendary Brazilian World Cup winner said it all and a lot was expected.
With three first-team appearances, seven as a substitute and zero goals, Kabwe prays that next season brings better fortunes for him to prove wrong Dynamos fans who have already labelled him and Kaseloki misfits at the club.
“I would have wanted to have performed better for the club as has done my countrymen. I was encouraged by Sandras Kumwenda to join Dynamos after the club’s executive had shown interest in signing me. I hope to be given another chance to show the fans what a good player I am,” said Kabwe.
Kabwe, who is known by the nickname “Wada” back home owing to his striking resemblance to a wealthy businessman in his home country, blamed injuries for his failure.
“The knee injury kept me out of action for a long time and in the few times that I have played, I was not 100% fit. Dynamos team doctors have suggested that I should be operated on, but I am not going to do that. I believe my God will heal the knee.
“My brother Richard had a knee operation and it did not come right, which I think might happen to me,” he said.
Kaseloki opens up on career
Kaseloki also gave a plethora of reasons for his disastrous debut season at Dynamos.
“I joined Dynamos because I wanted a change of environment, but am not happy with my performance. I would not even complain if my two-year contract with the club was terminated because it is unfair for the club to keep paying me while I do not play. If I get another chance, I hope to show the fans what I can deliver,” said the midfielder.
He also attributed his poor performance to the long layoff due to work permit problems, successive injuries that followed and also the playing surface at Rufaro and Raylton Sports Club.
“I last played soccer in November last year and only got my work permit in July. It meant my confidence as well as fitness level was low when the chance to play came,” said Kaseloki.
“The artificial turf at Rufaro is very hard and I failed to adjust because in Zambia we do not have such a turf. The turf at Raylton Sports Club where Dynamos used to train was also hard.”
Kaseloki urges DeMbare fans to be patient
Kaseloki, however, had kind words for the team’s impatient supporters who have labelled him useless.
“Football is the same wherever one goes. The fans always get angry when one does not perform. However, my fellow players attack me on the club’s Facebook page DeMbareDotComs. Last week they posted that I had absconded training when in fact I was writing examinations.
They did not know the reasons of my absence, but the coaches knew. I even got calls from people back home who wanted to know what was happening,” said Kaseloki.
Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa refused to comment on the duo’s performance, preferring to talk about the team’s general performance at the end of season next week.
Perhaps his statements in an interview with NewsDay in January sum up his general feeling.
“…I think the striker [Kabwe] cannot make the cut. Maybe I need to give them another two days to assess them. We have to call a spade a spade.” “The midfielder [Kaseloki] is okay I think. I have to give him two more days like I said, but he is not bad.”