Skipper Kalaba ‘should know better’
ZAMBIA coach Wedson Nyirenda has promised to bring out the big stick and deal harshly with his trusted skipper Rainford Kalaba for his ill discipline which the gaffer fears could lead to a loss of the control of the dressingroom.
Kalaba, who also captains crack DR Congo side TP Mazembe, is accused of showing dissent in front of the public when Chipolopolo surprisingly lost 1-0 to Mozambique in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at home in June.
Kalaba was withdrawn for Given Singuluma midway through the second half and instead of watching the rest of the game on the bench with his colleagues, the skipper shuffled his way straight to the dressing rooms to shower.
That clearly did not go down well with the coach, who felt his captain disrespected him, his colleagues and the country, and he promised to sanction the influential playmaker, who was clearly off the boil on the day.
“I am aware that football is an emotional game,” admitted Nyirenda. “But Kalaba is a senior player and captain of the team for that matter and I was not amused by his behaviour on that day,” said the former Kaizer Chiefs striker.
“I will definitely discipline Kalaba. We are running an institution and discipline is non-negotiable, especially from someone who should know better.”
Nyirenda said he treated his players equally but took a dim view of players who consider themselves bigger than the team, and he cannot treat some harshly and other with kid gloves if he is to maintain a tight reign.
What has prompted Nyirenda to take punitive action against Kalaba is the fact that another player, Adrian Chama, also walked off the pitch and straight to the dressing rooms after being substituted in a CHAN qualifier against Swaziland.
“He (Chama) apologised after the game,” said Nyirenda. “He did not know that what he did was wrong. He is a child. I asked him a question, who am I not to forgive? I have wronged people, I have made mistakes, and people have forgiven me.
“I see talent in him (Chama) which I cannot allow to go to waste. I don’t want to be the coach who will contribute to his downfall. We will sit him down about direction in football and guide him properly”
Unless Kalaba also apologises to the coach and his colleagues, it appears Nyirenda will crack the whip on the veteran skipper to ensure he does not have a toxic influence on the younger players.