A few days after the Chipolopolo draw, I have to think of happy thoughts just to avoid shedding a tear. The equaliser from Sudan sucked the joy that had hovered over the nation. Before I enter into my second depression let me leave this subject for now. The draw left me wondering what happened to the prayers that were said the Friday night before the game. Maybe our prayers were just not strong enough or have we cared to think that perhaps God does not really care which team wins or loses at the end of the day.
This nation has developed a tendency to Christianise almost everything that it does, from Big Brother to subsidies, the rains to hitting the clubs. It should therefore, be no surprise that football has been dragged into this too. I had the opportunity to tune to ZNBC on Friday night and caught the ending of the prayers that took place at Bethel City Church in Ndola. When I saw the Chipolopolo team singing praise songs I thought it was nice of them to recognise God in their lives. I even enjoyed the song they sang and the entertaining dance moves from Fwayo Tembo. Then the honorable Minister of Sport and Youth Chishimba Kambwili took to the podium to give his speech followed by the pastors. From the speeches if you did not know that Zambia was playing Sudan, you would be excused for thinking that we were playing against the devil and his demons the next day.
There were just too many statements along the lines of, “Nothing will stand against us,” and “If God is for us who can be against”, so we had turned Sudan into an enemy who was hindering us from receiving our ‘God-given’ blessing of qualifying for the World Cup. I reckon there was enough binding and losing in that church, oh I love my Christian brothers and sisters. I frankly find such prayers totally unnecessary. What would have stopped Sudan from saying the very same prayers and including, “God give us justice for the three points we lost.” I do not think that God was rooting for either Sudan or Zambia; I think these are way too petty things to worry about. 24 grown men kicking a ball is hardly anything that should require heaven and hell to be shaken over.
Now that we know the outcome of the weekend results what should we be saying? Our prayers on Friday were not powerful enough? Should we have bound the devil tighter? Or was it God’s will that we drew and there was nothing we could have done? Perhaps we should try a national fast next time. This is what I think. We were just not good enough, period. We huffed and puffed on that pitch and not even the passion filled fans in that stadium could roar the boys to victory. There was no spiritual involvement in that defeat and Satan’s demons did not lay booby traps on the pitch, yes that draw felt like a defeat to me.
I am not disputing the power of prayer in the player’s lives and the role it has played in this nation, what I am against is where we make the other teams villains and we turn God into a football fan. The same God we pray to is probably the same God that the people in Ghana, Lesotho and Sudan pray to. And if we are all God’s children why should Zambia be favoured over the rest. So next time Chipolopolo holds another prayer meeting to banish the devil’s weapons against the team do not bother calling me because I will be busy watching Game of Thrones.
I seek to be enlightened, what’s your view?