YOU must create an identity for yourself as a soccer player, says retired Zambian soccer star James Chamanga. Tipping young soccer players at Lisaka’s ZIBC Sports Complex on the secrets of succeeding in sport, the former Chipololpolo and Chinese club Dalian Shide striker said discipline was key.
He further encouraged young players to watch what they eat as athletes if they are to excel in their careers.
“You must create an identity for yourself as a soccer player…ine siunganipeza (you will not find me) ask anyone ine close to a club ati Mayela, Top One chani chani, (in night clubs) ask anyone not me, others you can find them. Why? It’s because where you are going kwamene muzakaenda (wherever you go) you need to be like that,” Chamanga said.
“And then watch what you eat also, munzako apita che wapempa…vopempapempa, munzako akumwa drink naiwe ati nimweko…awe (your friend is passing by, you start begging, begging, your friend is having a drink, you want to drink some, no). You don’t need to be like that, nga wamwa manje kunyumba (if you have drunk at home, that’s enough) it’s enough…ma habits, vopempapempa (begging) make you weak, make you a weak person. I started at this age to train myself.”
Chamanga made his international debut on February 26, 2005 against Botswana and five months later he scored his first international goal in the COSAFA Cup semifinal against South Africa.
His goal against Bafana Bafana earned him his first move abroad when the then South African Premier Soccer League side Bush Bucks signed him in 2005.
After Bush Bucks were relegated in 2006 he signed with SuperSport United where he was the club’s top goal scorer for the 06/07 season.
He was part of the Zambian 2006 African Nations Cup team, which finished third in group C in the first round of competition, thus failing to reach the quarterfinals.
Chamanga netted Zambia’s opener against Sudan (2008 African Nations Cup) in the Chipolopolo’s 3-0 win.
He also scored Zambia’s first goal at the 2006 African Nations Cup against Tunisia.