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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 June, 2004, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Mwila's misfortune
Fred Mwila
Mwila led Power Dynamos to Zambia's first continental club title

Fred Mwila is one of the best and most respected coaches Zambia has ever produced but this would be impossible to tell from his current lifestyle.

The 58-year-old, who led Zambia to their famous 4-0 defeat of Italy in the 1988 Olympics and Power Dynamos to the first Zambian club success in the Cup Winners' Cup, is presently jobless.

Mwila is in chronic financial health and in such poor physical condition that he is unable to walk without crutches.

"Life is tough," the Zambian told BBC Sport.

"I am injured and I am not able to walk as freely as I should and I can't find a job."

Mwila's problems began last October when the former Chipolopolo boss, who had been without a coaching role since early 2003, decided to try his luck with South African side Free State Stars.

Yet just one week before Mwila could sign a contract with the club, he was involved in a road accident.

The crash left him with two broken legs but fortunate to escape with his life, since Malawian coach Robert Banda, who was driving the car, died instantly from the collision.

Faz has been supporting me but I can't go there everyday
Fred Mwila

Mwila, who now walks with crutches, cannot find a job because of his condition.

His discomfort is compounded by the fact that he is supposed to attend physiotherapy sessions three times a week to improve his legs, but has missed a number of sessions because he cannot afford the transport.

The coach's finances are stretched by having to pay US$200 per month on rent and provisions for his wife and six children.

Yet Mwila's current financial problems are in direct contract to the successes he has achieved in football.

The former international pioneered professional football in Zambia when he left his homeland in 1967 to spend seven years overseas.

The midfielder sandwiched two stints for Atlanta Chiefs in the American League with a year in England, where he played for Aston Villa.

Having gained a coaching badge from the prestigious Lilleshall academy in England and undertaken more courses in Germany and Brazil, Mwila has since led a number of southern African teams.

Fred Mwila
Mwila broke both legs in a car crash last October

In the early 1980's, he led Power Dynamos to an inaugural football league championship and the team to Zambia's first ever continental final.

Dynamos lost the 1982 Cup Winners' Cup to Egypt's Arab Contractors, but returned to the same competition in triumph eight years later when Dynamos beat Nigeria's BCC Lions 5-4 on aggregate.

So how can a man who played for the Chipolopolo in the 1974 Cup of Nations and assisted the team to the 1994 final, just a year after the devastating plane crash that wiped out a national team, be in such dire financial straits?

"A lot of people ask that but times have changed," claims Mwila who has also coached the cream of Zambian clubs.

"Even when I coached Zambia, the money we used to get was not as much as it is today.

"Most of the work we did was purely out of commitment and national service."

Mwila has also managed in Botswana and Zimbabwe but is currently relying on the Football Association of Zambia (Faz) for financial help.

"Faz has been supporting me but I can't be going there everyday," adds Mwila, whose son Fred Jr plays for Cairo giants Zamalek but is out of contact with his father.

"I can only appeal for assistance from well-wishers.

"Honestly, by going to South Africa, I thought I would get a job but I ended up being injured."




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