I must confess head hung in shame, that I'm not a football fan. The game itself is honest and simple, twenty-two people in a large space kicking a ball for ninety minutes – one goal, one point – so simple (compare cricket, American football, tennis etc).
Nonetheless, Zambia’s national team has won a place in the Africa Cup of Nations final in Gabon on Sunday. My Facebook friends have kept me reliably updated regarding our conquering Chipolopolo boys and their white-shirted coach, who apparently has a following of his own – mostly female.
For the non-football loving masses this cup final will be significant, not only for the glory and not only for the twenty-five national team members that died tragically eighteen years ago in Gabon, but because last year we won ourselves a new government.
Last year we democratically and reasonably peacefully changed governments and to me winning the Africa Cup would be a sign of renewal, something to excite us all and give us something more of which to be proud.
I recall a few years ago reading Zambian literature of the seventies and early eighties and remarking to someone of the optimism and expectations imbued in this era. I also recall the immediate post-Kaunda era, in which the Zambian entertainment and sport scenes were injected with a newfound energy.
I most likely will not go as far as to watch the cup final but I will be with our boys in spirit and I wish them the best of luck.
Photograph: Amr Abdallah, Reuters