A history of football and politics in Zambia: 1964- 1991

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Chapeta, George
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The University of Zambia
The central theme of this study is to explore the link between football and politics in Zambia from 1964 to 1991. The study investigates how politics influenced the development of the sport in Zambia. It reveals that under the government of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) football developed through the establishment of sports bodies. Also, the government constructed stadia in all the provincial centres and appealed to companies to promote football and through such efforts, football in Zambia developed through schools as the sport was part of education. The study further shows how politics penetrated football administration. The UNIP government interfered in the running of football because it provided money for the running of the sport and thus wanted to turn FAZ into an organ that would support the Kenneth Kaunda-led regime. It was to this end that the ‘one soccer body’ was established in 1975. After 1975, government repeatedly dissolved FAZ whenever there was evidence of maladministration and declining standards in football. The study further reveals that football was important in political mobilisation after independence. From 1964 to 1972 the UNIP government deployed the sport to popularise the Kaunda dominated regime during the brief period of multi-party state. Football was also used to consolidate the ‘one party state’ as the sport was effective in making ‘One Zambia One Nation’ become a reality. The study concludes that although the UNIP government contributed greatly to the development of football, it failed to erect sufficient modern sports infrastructure in the country which culminated in the failure to host the 1988 Africa Cup. The study further concludes that although the ruling party used football for political mobilisation so as to make it popular and strengthen the party’s hold on power, ordinary Zambians used the sport to undermine the UNIP government in the run up to the 1991 elections.
Sports--Political aspects , Nationalism and sports , Sports-Sociological aspects.