This has been an excellent weekend of sport for Zambia. On Sunday 3rd of September 2012, twenty one year old Zambian striker Emmanuel Mayuka made his premier league football debut. He played his first match for Southampton FC against Manchester United. As if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, on Sunday, 3rd September 2012, twenty three year old Mohammed Essa became the 2012 African Motor Rally Champion.
Back in Febuary, we all followed Zambia’s road to victory in the African Cup of Nations. As joint top scorer in that Africa Cup winning team, Mayuka’s presence did not go unnoticed by international football moguls. It was newly promoted Southampton Football Club that beat other clubs like QPR to his signature. Take a look at this goals, skills and emotions video to see Mayuka in action and why there has been significant premiership football interest in him.
From humble beginnings, Mayuka has worked his way through the ranks starting at popular Kabwe Warriors in Zambia. He has also played for Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Swiss club, BSC Young Boys before signing for Southampton Football Club. According to Sky Sports, Mayuka said, “I’ve always dreamed of playing in the Premier League and I thank God. I’m happy now that I’m here and I just want to do my thing to help the team.”
Meanwhile in the African Rally Championship, Mohammed Essa, together with Zimbabwean navigator, Greg Stead, finished first with a time 2:01:35 hours. Essa finished six minutes ahead of Tanzanian Dharam Pandya in his debut championship. The Essa, Stead, Subaru Imprezza team came first after battling it out in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Madagascar and finally, Tanzania.
And so despite so little funding for sport in Zambia, the dedicated have been working away. And at last, some high profile recognition. When Zambia won the Africa Cup of Nations, Zambia was on the tip of every football fan’s tongue. Suddenly, people were looking up this little known country. Mayuka is living proof of what happens when a nation gets noticed. More recently, we have watched the 2012 Olympics in London. Whilst events like the Olympics have been dominated by countries like China, USA and the UK there have been some rising African nations. South Africa came 23rd in the Olympic medal table closely followed by Ethiopia. Sport is revered internationally. Isn’t it time we increased funding and encouraged our children to take up sport in Zambia? Afterall, sports tourism should not be taken lightly. Should it?
Image credits: daily-mail.co.zm and mtnfootball.com