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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 17:07 GMT
Wanderers in the wilderness
Kennedy Gondwe
BBC Sport in Lusaka

Mufulira Wanderers line up before a Division 1 game
Mighty Wanderers are not quite so mighty now
No discussion of Zambia's football past is complete without mentioning Mufulira Wanderers.

The Copperbelt club has won 10 national titles and 10 FA cups.

Their greatest achievement was reaching the semi-finals of the African Champions Cup in 1977.

The club has produced a cluster of stars like former African Footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya and Anderlecht midfielder Charles Musonda who is now a youth coach at Belgian first division side Gent.

Running the Zambian league without Mighty is like something illegal
Joseph Kawanu, Wanderers Supporter Club
Mufulira also developed the talents of the late Samuel Zoom Ndhlovu, the first African coach to have taken an African team to the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games.

But the team for the first time in 40 years the club finds itself outside the top league, having been relegated at the end of last season.

Several reasons have been cited for the fall of the Wanderers, nicknamed 'Mighty' for their unmatched rich history.

Prominent among them is lack of support from their new sponsors, Mopani Copper Mines, after privatisation in 1991.

Joseph Kawanu, a committee member for Lusaka based supporters describes Mighty's demotion as "one of worst things that has ever happened to Zambia."

"Running the Zambian league without Mighty is like something illegal. We have never been known to play in division one," he said.

Bwalya was short of words when he discovered his childhood club had been demoted.

Charles Musonda had a great career in Belgium
Mighty's Musonda
"What has happened is like Manchester United getting to division one or Bayern Munich being demoted. I can't imagine the Zambian league without Mighty," he said from his Holland base.

"The club has won everything that has been there to be won. It is sad to me that such a thing has happened."

The club cannot expect any special treatment, in spite of its former status and rich history.

Zambia's FA general-secretary Paul Simukoko sympathises, but says they have to sort things out for themselves.

"It's unfortunate that they have gone down. This is a true reflection of the effects of privatisation on local clubs.

"Everyone was aware that Wanderers were struggling just to meet their fixtures. Things have just not been okay for them financially."

Zambia's fall from glory
29 Nov 01 |  Africa
Coach and player die
11 Oct 01 |  Africa

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