Former Golden Ball Award winner Oliver Kahn of Germany and FIFA technical Study Group member Kalusha Bwalya. Bwalya paid his due to African football in style!
Make an “African Best Players Ever” list. Leave out Kalusha Bwalya. That’s sacrilege. That’s blasphemy. Down the line of which, you’d omission will be judged a sin. He was the centre of attention at all times. It was as if he and the ball were on first-name terms. The ability to play a pass has always been a form of mitigation in football. And, boy could Bwalya play a pass. He made you realize that seeing the pass, having that vision and knowing where the ball should go, at the precise angle and with the perfect weight, was every bit as beautiful as seeing someone score from 30 yards. The Zambian was the perfect No11 in that sense; the man who set the tempo and the pitch of play. He was a schemer with a foot that worked as football’s equivalent of a tin-opener. Bwalya was two foots grace with close control, quick on the turn and excellent in getting his shots-on-target. The Zambian legend always found a way to find the net, whether it required a sumptuous 30-yard chip or a toe-poke from two yards. All his mates had to do was screw the ball to Kalusha. The rest? Hold your chin-in-check to see a rare moment in footballing history. Then, once inside the penalty area, he didn’t like to wallop his shots at goal. His art was more subtle. He would stick out his toe and poke the ball into the corner.
Honours: Two-time Eredivisie (Dutch League) Winner: 1990-91, 1991-92, KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup): 1989-90, Johan Cruijff schaal (Dutch Super Cup): 1991-92, Two-time Pop Poll d’Echte Cercle Brugge K.S.V.: Player of the Year: 1986-87 & 1987-88, African Footballer of the Year: 1988, Two-time Cercle Brugge top scorer: 1987 & 1988.