Kalusha Bwalya is probably one of the most recognised Zambian faces because of the outstanding services he has rendered to the country through football for close to three and a half decades. However, when it comes to Facebook, it is difficult to tell whether an account in his name is genuine or not.
Kalusha currently heads the Zambia Football Association (FAZ) as its president, a position that has enabled him sit on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) committees.
As a footballer, Kalusha helped the national soccer team demolish a star-studded Italian team 4-0 for the 1988 Olympic qualifiers and for many years while playing professional football in Europe, he helped Zambia win a lot of games. Dissapointingly though is that Zambia never won any remarkable trophy in regional or continental football but many a time they lost in semi or final games.
In 1993, Kalusha missed a flight which saw a team of 22 Zambian players and eight officials on its way to a world cup qualifying game in Senegal perish in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon. After that tragic event, he never turned his back on the national team but became an integral if not inspiring part of the new team.
With the coming of social networking sites such as Facebook on which many celebrities are opening accounts, the name Kalusha Bwalya did not raise any eyebrows. It naturally attracted a number of people who wanted to be friends with the Zambian soccer icon and soon, the number of followers swelled to over 2,000 within two months.
The story was broken by Zedleaks:
Leaks in have revealed that an imposter has been running a social network facebook page pretending to be Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president and soccer legend Kalusha Bwalya for the last 2 months. The account called KALUSHA BWALYA has a picture of the actual Zambian former football player. Within a few weeks of opening the account, nearly a 2000 unsuspecting friends were attracted to the account and have been interacting with the imposter thinking it was the actual 1988 African Footballer of the year.
The page, which is currently unavailable, had a status post that simply read:
My people talk about foot ball”, gave the game away, literary. It immediately raised suspicion by those who know Kalusha’s speech mannerisms of never using “I, me, or my” but rather the collective pronoun “we”.
FAZ, through its own Facebook page, issued a statement denying that the “Kalusha Bwalya” page did not belong to the soccer legend:
FAZ President Statement: “Dear all, please note that I do not have a personal facebook page. Therefore, all facebook pages with my names KALUSHA BWALYA (and my photo) are not genuine and not updated by me or an agent appointed by myself”
Donald Njekwa, upon realising that he was following an imposter, wrote:
Pipo wake up n stop being fooled by da ghost fake kalu.kalusha denied ever openin a fb account.
Another observant Facebooker Michelo Victor Chijikwa had this to say:
There r more than 50 comments on this status but this so called Kalu has (not) said anythin constructive apart (from) ”avans brazil”. Shows hw lil he knws abt the game he once ruled. Fake mambala (crook).
I hope Fooball Association of Zambia(FAZ) is not another fraudstar.
Some prominent Zambians including President Rupiah Banda have had Facebook accounts created in their name. It took State House to issue a statement that the Zambian leader had finally created a page of his own. The statement, however, did not refer to other Rupiah Banda accounts.