Monday, 27 February 2012


                The Facebook and SMS phenomenon took the world by the neck over a decade ago; it also ushered in a new vocabulary that had to be learnt.  It brought with it mainly acronyms that had to be studied, TC- Take Care, ROTFL- Rolling On The Floor Laughing, LMAO- Laughing My A*^ Off, L8- Later and the most commonly used LOL- Laughing Out Loud or Laugh Out Loud. LOL with the meaning of Laugh Out Loud has almost evolved to mean something more than just laughing at a humourous statement. Sometimes LOL has a far greater meaning if you can read between the LOL.
            In its normal form LOL is usually used to reflect an action of laughing even though the person writing it may not necessarily be laughing their heads out. Most LOLs are genuine and there is nothing more to them. However, some LOLs have begun to be used as disclaimers to the statements that we make and we are not sure how the person will react.  LOL has become almost a rubberstamp that just in case what I have written offends you, is misunderstood or is simply out of line then refer to the LOL. In the event that all is well then the LOL should be ignored.
            Take for example a message that is sent, “Will you go out with me? LOL”
In this context the LOL acts as a disclaimer. It leaves no room for the girl to get upset. In the event that she does, there is the LOL to signify that it was a joke. Therefore, everything that came before the LOL should not be taken to heart, and there is no reason to fret. If she says yes then the LOL likewise can be ignored. We remain playing the guessing game to really try to interpret what is actually meant by the messages we send. It is a hassle to determine whether the messages we receive should be taken lightly or seriously.
            Then LOL is being used as another disclaimer when someone wants to be sarcastic.
            “You are an arrogant fool! LOL”
Because the person put LOL, you will think that they were joking when in actual fact they literally meant that you are an arrogant fool. In other words LOL has become a nice way of insulting someone and getting issues off our chests without actually being direct. The fact that you got the point across that the other person is an arrogant fool is all that matters. Consider it a more polite way of giving someone a piece of your mind.
            In a nation where most people are regarded as passive and rarely speak their mind for the fear of it being misconstrued for rudeness, LOL has been the life saver. We can now tell people all the romantic niceties, the crap we think of them, the way they make us feel or the pain they cause us without actually feeling bad or embarrassed. The reality is many of us have people around who never get to tell us the truth in our face. It is much easier to tell someone positives and praises than to tell the negatives and criticisms. LOL spares us that uncomfortable situation.
            By and large, LOL has given us the opportunity to share our thoughts with people even though it may be indirectly. The fact that it has been laid bare and subject to own interpretation does not matter much, after all the LOL is there to protect you just should things go bad. Perhaps the only problem with LOL is that it can only be used in the written format. Finally, thank you for commenting on this blog in advance. LOL

Monday, 20 February 2012


               Every Zambian glued to their T. V screens, holding their breath as the Zambian player approaches the penalty spot. We say our prayers up to the heavens and hope that this ball goes into the net. The green clad Zambian player grabs the ball and kisses it, looks up to the dark sky and whispers a prayer of his own. By this time the hearts are beating like drums and a nation pauses for that one moment. The player is focused and stares at the goal keeper who is piercingly staring back at him. Then he makes his run and kicks the ball, it whizzes in the air almost in slow motion. The Ivorian keeper dives at full stretch and punches the ball away. The Ivorian team led by Didier Drogba run to the goal keeper waving their hands in celebration. This is a thought I have flirted with, what would have happened if Chipolopolo lost?
                In the last week I have probably soaked up every article written about the Chipolopolo’s wonderful triumph. Reading of how reporters are marveling at our success and putting this butterfly shaped nation in the spotlight for all the right reasons. For once we can be known for more than just the country that shares the Victoria Falls but as the 2012 AFCON Championships. There is always something good about being winners. The world press used all manner of verbs to describe Zambia’s victory over Ivory Coast such as STUN, SHOCK, DERAIL, SURPRISE and UPSET. Now spare a moment and wonder what would have happened if the final went according to the form book and Ivory Coast won the final. We would have been the runners up for the third time and the ones coming home with the silver.
                It would definitely have been a painful defeat and tears would certainly have flowed. We would have sat in front of our television screens shocked and comforting ourselves that it was hard luck it went to penalties. Would we have rued the missed chances by Nathan Sinkala early on, Katongo’s ball from Felix and if only Kolo Toure had not blocked Mayuka? Would we have thought of a 101 ways in which the penalty should have been kicked- higher, lower, stronger, in the corner or side-footed? Would we then have expected Kennedy Mweene, to have at least saved one of the penalties? Dived to his left, to his right or just stayed still.
                Should Herve Renard have made proper substitutions perhaps played James Chamanga with his lightening speed or Mbesuma for his strength maybe he should not have sent Clifford Mulenga packing? Then we would have talked about the players we missed Jacob Mulenga, Emmanuel Mbola, William Njovu the list would have been endless.
                The next morning headlines would have read very differently in describing Zambia, verbs such as DEFEATED, TUMBLE, FALL SHORT, LOSE, BEATEN and DENIED would have been flashed before our very eyes. One headline that would definitely have pierced my heart would have been “ZAMBIA’S FAIRYTALE RUN ENDED BY MIGHTY IVORY COAST”. There would have been articles of how it was a beautiful run that fell short of a fairy tale ending. How we had come up against a Goliath that was just too big for us to conquer or how we were put in our rightful place as minnows of African football. Indeed like so often everyone soon forgets the runner up and Zambia would soon have disappeared as a good thing that almost was.
                Monday would have been an ordinary day without the fuss, no one would have bothered to go to the airport as early as 4 am, the streets would have been empty, and we would have been looking forward to the English Premier League the next weekend. As we sat on the office desks we would have reminisced about the AFCON and how wonderful it would have been to lift the trophy. Our sentences would have included the words ‘IF’ or ‘NSEMBE’. We would speak of the future even though in our hearts we would know that 2012 was our best chance. The football jerseys would have seized to sell like hot cakes and would have returned to their normal price of K15, 000 and there would no longer be an excuse for grown men and women to run to the streets in their boxers and night gowns.
                Supersport’s analysts Mamadou Gaye and Daniel Amokachi would have had the last laugh. No more Chipolopolo songs would have been composed. The full spread advertisements of congratulatory messages would have been replaced with news. There would have been no hero’s welcome, and show grounds would not have been packed. The companies would not gladly dish out the goodies to the team. We would have been desperately hoping for an Esther Phiri victory to ease the pain.
                Thank God this was a big ‘IF’ we all know how fantastic this story ends. Stopilla Sunzu singing as he is going to kick his penalty and he coolly slots the ball past the Ivorian goal keeper. Immediately an entire nation erupts into wild and uninhibited celebrations Zambia has ever seen. Euphoria ignited beyond the comprehension of words, engraving memories that will be etched for many years to come. Whether I witness the Chipolopolo lift another cup or not, I will forever remember that special moment and so will millions of others.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Chipolopolo Forgot How To Lose: A Dream of A Nation

People who dream are dangerous people, because one day their dreams may just come true. A so-called small team at the African Cup of Nations 2012 dared to dream big. The rest of the world labeled them as underdogs and it would only be a matter of time before they were put in their rightful place as the minnows of African football. However, this script never got to them because they were on a collision course with destiny.
This story had all the hallmarks of a blockbuster Hollywood movie that directors would die for. This was a journey that began in tragedy. The 1993 Gabon Disaster was definitely one the darkest days in Zambia’s history. A plane crash carrying 30 people on board who included the crème de la crème of Zambian football and the technical staff crashed into the ocean shortly after takeoff sending an entire nation into mourning its fallen heroes. The 1994 Africa Cup in Tunisia was supposed to be the saving grace.
A new breed of players stunned the world by reaching the final to play against Nigeria for the title. The whole world was rooting for us, but our hearts were broken when Nigeria lifted the trophy after 90 minutes. My heart was crushed. After getting disappointed, we were able to raise our heads high because we had almost done the unthinkable. We cheered our boys as they returned having brought home the silver and the admiration of the world. Little did we know that it would take 18 long painful years strewn with tears and disappointment before we would get another chance at glory.
The Equatorial Guinea/Gabon African Cup of Nations 2012 was another chance at the elusive cup. We had to carry the tag as underdogs, the team that played beautiful football but only made up the numbers. The favourites tag was carried by the West African giants of Senegal, Ghana and the number one African team Ivory Coast. The bookmakers had tipped Ivory Coast to win with its star studded team, the media began to already write their articles for a Ghana v Ivory Coast final. If you said you expected Zambia to get to the final, you were either living on another planet, a lunatic or not a realist.
The French coach Herve Renard led team, showed the world glimpses of what was to come. They defeated their first Goliath in the name of Senegal. It was a performance that set the tone for the AFCON tournament. The next hurdle was a 2-2 draw with Libya on what was almost an unplayable pitch but the rising from the fall was amazing to watch. We charged on to face the hosts Equatorial Guinea who were cheered on by a boisterous crowd. We emerged on top and we had reached the half way point.
We began to dare to dream even though cautiously. The master class that was put up against Sudan sent us through to the semifinals with a date with another Goliath in the name of Ghana. It was definitely a herculean task at hand. If this was a game played some six years ago, we would lost. The reason I say this is because we would have been defeated before we got onto the pitch. The moment would have overwhelmed the boys and they would have resigned themselves to a loss. Fast forward to 2012 this crop of players did not care what name you were called, Gyan, Ayew, Demba Ba, they cared less. The more famous you were the harder they were going to play, they were not going to curve in and they made sure opponent not only knew it but felt it. Even though it was a difficult match and the penalty miss by Gyan was the writing on the wall. The fabulously curled in strike by Emmanuel Mayuka in the 78th minute was the only passport needed to get to Gabon to pay homage to our fallen heroes. The Chipolopolo could finally dream again, they were making the exodus to Gabon, to write the final chapter.
There was no bigger giant to stand in our way than Ivory Coast. The Ivorian team was supposed to be the most talented team of African players ever to assemble on a pitch. The form book said they were the number one team in Africa therefore, the match against us was only a formality and the cup was on its way to Ivory Coast. The problem was there was a team that dared to dream and held the dreams of an entire nation on their shoulders and they were not afraid to carry it.
There’s was a dream of fallen heroes, broken hearts and for every person who was told it could not be done. It was the hope of an entire generation, the faith of a nation and the heart beats of every Zambian. Chipolopolo were so near yet so very far. It was one of the longest 90 minutes of my life. You could say it was written in the stars, it was Herve Renard’s lucky white shirt, or the South African sangoma’s prediction but what you must not do is take away from the Chipolopolo boys. The squad left it all on that pitch; I believe they died a little in those 120 minutes. They sacrificed like they never had before and they all played the football of their lives. We all held our breath, said our prayers and hoped that the heavens would smile on Zambia. When Stophila Sunzu kicked that final penalty, the dream of an entire nation was realised. We had not only conquered one Goliath but three and we deserved every honour that came with it, the African Cup of Nations Champions 2012.
We shed tears that night, only we were shedding tears of a different kind. These were tears of realised dreams, vindication that finally we have reached the summit of African football and we did it against the odds. The Chipolopolo boys have written themselves into the history books as a team that just forgot how to lose and dared to dream. When my children will tell me their dreams, I will say go ahead my child dare to dream the Chipolopolo boys showed us how. The question that will be asked for generations to come is, “Where were you when Chipolopolo won the African Cup of Nations?”

Friday, 10 February 2012

CHIPOLOPOLO Forgot to Read the Script

One of the greatest feeling of human experience is that of winning. The feeling is even sweeter when you win where the rest of the world was telling you that you could not. When the Chipolopolo boys boarded the plane to Equatorial Guinea the headlines were all about the star studded giants of African football, Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast. Zambia was considered a non-entity. The script was already been written that the final would be between Ghana v Ivory Coast. I am glad our boys forgot to read that script. They were going to write their own script, produce their own success and direct how they were going to do so. The rest of the world was obliged to watch our movie.
The first game was the introduction of the blockbuster that was to come. The time our boys stood next to the Senegalese, I thought we look like dwarfs compared to them. Little did I know that the Chipolopolo spirit was going to see them slay their first giant. The boys played some incredible football and when the two goals were scored the celebrations began. The writing was on the wall these were going to be a very special Africa Cup of Nations. The first victim Senegal and suddenly people began to take notice of this forgotten nation.
When Zambia took on Libya that is when we got to notice the grit that the boys had. Despite being behind on two occasions they continued to fight on. The conditions of the pitch were against us and it looked like it would be one of those days. However, they somehow told themselves that they were not going to lose and they did not. Once again the boys rolled on.
The time we made it the quarter finals, people began to sing a different tune. They said they expected us to get there after all we got there the last time. Then we roared into the semi finals when we beat Sudan. Suddenly everybody else woke up. People began to finally take notice, saying that we were a good team. It brought back memories of the team that perished in 1993, may their souls rest in peace. The Gabon disaster was once again being thrust into the spotlight as the back drop for the semi final. The script was that this is where the dream run was going to end and the form book would be restored to order.
I must admit, even I had the belief that it was a great run but this time the giant was too great. The rest of the world said that too, that Ghana was too strong and they were very hungry for the cup. Once again, the Chipolopolo boys did not read the script; they were going to use their own script. After 90 minutes the world ripped apart whatever script they had for this Southern African nation. It was pointless they just did not care what they rest of the world said. The media had bold headlines that Zambia Stun Ghana, Zambia Shock Ghana, Ghana Tumble. Ghana’s defeat sent shockwaves in the football arena.
You see the game against Ghana, showed a different shade to the boys that haven’t been seen in a long time. They were composed, believed and played as a team and not individuals. Everyone carried their own weight and I believe died a little on that pitch. Even though the players who hit the headlines after this wonderful victory were Kennedy Mweene for his brilliant save and Emmanuel Mayuka for his fantastic goal, the rest of the teams deserves their headline. Every player had a part to play whether it was the Rainford Kalaba, Stophila Sunzu or Chisamba Lungu even the players on the bench who celebrate every goal with them, they all deserve an applause.
Every victory meant a lot to every Zambian, and it also meant a lot for the lads who gave their all. For me this was epitomized by Mayuka who could not control the tears when he realized that we had finally beaten Ghana. They had finally reached the final where no one expected them to and it must feel so sweet. Well for me from this point on, whether the boys get the gold or silver they are already champions. I know this may sound like a cliché but they have every right to hold their heads high among the giants of African football because they have earned their place. And when their stories are told, they will be remembered as the African Cup of Nations 2012 team that Defied the Odds. Come Sunday and we will be there to cheer our Copper Bullets on. VIVA CHIPOLOPOLO!!