If lack of seriousness has another name, it is called the secretariat of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ).
Back in the day, during inter-school competition, presentations were done from a table. A nicely wrapped table with some flowers on it.
In homes, food was presented on a table with some covering on it called a table cloth.
It was a mark of respect and honour for the occasion.
During sports for all activities, it was the same.
You would find a “doili” or some covering like that decorating the presentation table.
Since 1962 Zambian football has evolved. But some aspects of administration, like a tortoise is the fabled Kalulu race story, have remained in the the pre-independence era.
In 2018, an undecorated table in the presentation ceremony was the anti-climax of a Charity Shield final that was so exciting it produced an incredible seven goals.
A white table with four steel legs for presentation of the Charity Shield trophy to champions Nkana.
A white table with four steel legs for medals for all teams including losing finalists ZESCO United in a seven goal thriller.
While the medals and the Shield itself were brilliant, the white table with steel legs was an eye sore.
It looked amateurish.
This was not inter-schools football cup final or Sports for All final or Chandamali Cup final in the dust of Kapisha or Chiwempala.
It was the seasonal opening match watched by millions across Africa, or may be, the world, on SuperSport.
Here was FAZ parading its president, Andrew Kamanga, shield and medals before a white table with steel legs.
How much would a Charity Shield backdrop cost?
How much would a FAZ embroided “doili” cost to cover that shameful white table with steel legs cost?
Would the corporate world have turned down an opportunity to brand the Charity Shield and throw in a few coins towards charity for that?
Are backdrops that costly that FAZ could not afford a decent presentation podium or daice?
This casual approach to management of football is suicidal. While the white table with steel legs may be dismissed as nothing important, it is symptomatic of a laissez-faire approach to issues of management of football at the secretariate at Football House.
It is business as usual.
There was no single government official at the Charity Shield final.
The proceeds of the Charity Shield are supposed to go the patron of FAZ His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Edgar Lungu. The Republican President then donates to a Charity of his choice.
Why was there no government representation at the Charity Shield final?
The Shield final, itself, was sandwiched between Women’s Day and Youth Day, surely soccer remains a vehicle to voice out on issues affecting people.
The beautiful game is the people’s game.
“Kick out child labour, ” “Red card to abuse of women,” Charity Shield.
While the football was pleasant, the presentation on a white table with steel legs would cause Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu to turn in his grave.
The first black Zambia national team captain after independence would be shocked to learn how backward management of Zambian football is while the game itself has advanced.
The presentation of the Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu Charity Shield, on a white table with four steel legs, was not honourable for a big footballing nation like Zambia.
Modern presentations across the world are marked by confetti and ribbons and other decorative things.
But in Zambia it’s the white table with four steel legs.
If that white table with four steel legs is the best that can come out of Football House for the presentation of the Charity Shield, then Zambian football is still in the stone age.