THE Jones Chilengi Sports Initiative will today officially kick off a six-team Charity Shield tournament at the Edwin Imboela Stadium in Lusaka.
The initiative, named in honour of the late Zambia national team captain, aims to provide training courses to 100 former and retired players to try their hand at coaching, management, and other off- the-field related soccer programmes.
Jones Chilengi Junior, CEO of the JCSI, says many footballers fall on hard times after retirement.
“My Dad used to say, ‘There’s a gap. Why don’t soccer players transition past their playing careers?’ He said there are many things former players can do. So the initiative wants to help players through the transition period,” Jones Junior said.
He added that his father was a symbol of national pride and a unifying force within the soccer fraternity.
The four-day tournament will feature Super League sides ‘Mighty’ Mufulira Wanderers, Green Buffaloes, Lusaka Dynamos, Napsa Stars and Division One outfits Zesco Shockers and Malaiti Rangers.
According to fixtures availed to The Mast, three matches will be played each day of the tournament, with kick-off at 11:00 hours, 13:00 hours and 15:00 hours.
One ticket (VIP K50 and Open Wing K10) will ensure entry to all three matches on a given day.
Jones Chilengi played over 100 times for Zambia, then known as the KK XI (or Kenneth Kaunda XI), earning his first cap in 1983.
Chilengi captained Zambia to its first international trophy – the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Cup – in Uganda in 1984.
He also played as a defender for Green Buffaloes from1975 to 1987, and later went on to coach Nitrogen Chemicals FC, Ndola United, Zamsure and Hwange FC of Zimbabwe.
Chilengi, 44 died in Hwange on April 9, 1999.
In April, scores of Lusaka residents and former players gathered at the Zamsure Sports Complex to attend the launch of the Jones Chilengi Foundation.
The launch, held under the theme ‘Defending The Legacy’, was organised by the family and friends of the late Chilengi and graced by among others his widow Anne and Chipolopolo legend Kalusha Bwalya.
11:00hrs Malaiti Rangers v Zesco Shockers
13:00hrs Mufulira Wanderers v Lusaka Dynamos
15:00hrs Napsa Stars v Green Buffaloes