By Shalala Oliver Sepiso
When we look at brothers who featured for Zambia such as The Sunzu brothers, the Hangunyu brothers and the Numba brothers the best pair has to be either the Katongo brothers or the Malitoli brothers with the Bwalya brothers being close because of The Great and our greatest icon, Kalu.
But for me, Felix and Chris never reached the levels of Malitoli brothers. Chris and Felix’s claim to fame is one AFCON final and a win i.e. gold medals. Mordon and Bubble, on the other hand won silver medal in 1994, won bronze in 1996 and won many league titles with Nkana including also winning silver medals in the CAF Champions League when Mordon missed a penalty against JS Kabylie. Bubble went on to win the CAF Champions league with Esperance. Further, Bubble also won the AFCON bronze in 1990 in Algeria since we joined the national team earlier than his elder brother in 1987. Bubble would let lose his place to younger players like Kelvin Mutale and it was a problem for him to play well in front of home supporters at Independence Stadium. Away he was always great. After the Gabon Disaster, the brothers were the right age to take over and went on to do great things.
So when we discuss the success of brothers (as a pair) we don’t mention one being good/great and another just trying and call them successful as brothers. If that was the criteria, we wouldnt even use Chris and Felix as comparisons to Bubble and Mordon. We would instead or otherwise go for Kalusha and Joel Bwalya.
Back to the fact that Chris and Felix won a final, we have to remember that the Malitolis reached the finals in 1994. Zambia even scored first. And both of then have scored at AFCONS. Bubble was joint Zambian top scorer in 1994. Mordon scored at the 1996 AFCON and had many assists like the goal for Lota against Egypt in the 3-1 quarterfinal win. As for the Katongo brothers, I don’t remember Felix making much impact at AFCON like Mordon. In the final, he was just a sub and only played a few minutes of the final. As for club careers, where as Chris excelled, the Malitolis brothers both excelled at Nkana. Bubble went to Esperance and became a cult hero in Tunisia and would have stints at other clubs. Mordon went to Malindi and later play for ROPS in Europe successful. So you can’t compare the Katongos to these two.
The Malitoli brothers were both great in 1994, 1996 and 1998 AFCONS. At club level for Nkana they were great from 1988 to 1992 when Bubble left for Esperance. Even the number of medals at AFCON is higher for these. Bubble also won a Bronze in 1990. So total medals for them is 3 bronze and 2 silver while the Katongo have just the two golds. The Malitoli’s had 3 semi finals in 3 AFCONs they played.
Moving on from the comparison, let me add more data collected from the comments below and further research. Let me recognise other brothers that featured in Zambian football at national and club level.
Mufulira Wanderers produced the best sets of brothers. There is the indefatigable Bwalya brothers i.e. Benjamin, Kalusha and Joel then the Musonda brothers – Bilton and Charles. But arguably the best brothers from Mufulira are the Nkole brothers. Three of them featured in a cup final at Dag Hammarskjold and won. That is Abraham, Patrick and Edward Nkole. Little known youngest brother Godfrey also played football. Philemon Kaunda was a Zambian footballer who featured for Mufulira Wanderers in the early ’80s and also played for Zambia as a central defender. His younger brother Philemon Mulala also played for both Wanderers and Zambia in the same period. These shined at the East and Central Africa Cup in 1984. The Mulalas had a brother named Evans.
Then we had the Mwape brothers who were all goalkeepers i.e. Emmanuel, Kenny and Steven, the Mutapa Brothers Perry and Oswald and the the Chalwe brothers Sashi, Linos and Songwe who had a Lusaka Dynamos flavour and indeed a South african link. We had the Numba brothers Mwila, Mukuka and Mumamba too.
Power Dynamos in the late 80s and early 90s had two brothers who played for them in Alex ‘Computer’ Chola and Pascal Kunda.
Then there was the Konkola Blades pair of Charles and Dennis Lota. Dennis was part of the Zambian African Nations Cup teams in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002. He had two brothers who were also footballers, Charles Lota (younger) and Lawrence Lota (older). At the 2002 African Cup of Nations, Dennis played alongside Charles in the Zambian attack formation.
Other prolific families include the Chellah brothers who were 4. Among the Chellah brothers, Paul was the most known. He scored lots of headers and had the uncanny skill of scoring against Egypt. Paul came from a footballing family that produced striker Bobton Chella, Noah Chella and John Chella.
Another set of four brothers is Oliver Mwaba, Kellies “Paymaster Chunchu Meleki” Mwaba, Evans Mwaba and Maybin Mwaba. Then there is Clement “Soweto” Banda, Mathews Kasoka, Boniface Banda and Moses “Zoom” Banda ( Kabwe Warriors).
Then there is trio of the Chilongo family: Hoffman, System and Benjamin Chilongo. Talking of trios, there was Emmanuel Mwape, Kenny Mwape and Ben Mwape. Finally there is the Musabula brothers trio of Kingsley, Cleo and Ben.
Back to pairs, we have Jack Chanda and Luckson Chanda, Leo and Tonny Mukwasa, Chewe and Richard Mulenga, then Samuel and Teddy Chomba, and finally Fred Mwila Jr and Melvin Mwila. Last pair is famous Nkana personality Ben Bamfuchile whose elder brother Amon also played at Nkana. Finally there is Boniface Simutowe and Levy Simutowe.
I have been reminded to recognise the Mugala brothers (Burton played upfront as a striker and nicknamed Zamcab while Richard was a defender), Kashimotos Fred and Francis, the Sinkalas Andrew and Nathan and the Mwanza brothers from Konkola Blades: Simon and Ken.
The Mwanza Brothers from Konkola Blades also had a younger brother called Edgar at Mutondo Stars!
And then there was Kelvin Mutale. One of the best strikers Zambia ever produced. He started for Nkana Red Devil’s and Zambia. He and Bubble is perhaps the best striking partnership the Zambian league last saw. Kelvin had brothers. There was Mutale Kelvin, Danny and Mwenya.
Others I left out earlier include Dennis and Derby Mankinka, Wedson and Stone Nyirenda,
Currently playing we have the Chamanga brothers Luka and James, the Sunzu brothers Stophilla, Ngosa, Jackson, Boniface and Felix and the Mwepu brothers Francesco and Enock. We have the kapumbu brothers: Luckson and Kelvin. I can’t forget Klings and Edward ‘Kalulu’ Kangwa. But the best playing brothers right now are Clatous Chota Chama and Adrian Chama.