…as Simataa urges him to prepare retirement package
FORMER Chipolopolo coach Patrick Phiri has expressed shock over Zesco United and Chipolopolo striker Winston Kalengo’s move to AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville, saying he deserved a bigger club to match his world-class abilities and skill.
Zesco United Football club on Monday evening announced that Kalengo had signed a one-year deal with AC Leopards.
Phiri told the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday that Kalengo was currently the biggest star in the Zambian league and he could have moved to a more competitive team such as TP Mazembe or the South African premiership.
He said the 30-year-old striker, who scooped the 2015 player of the year, top scorer and most disciplined player during the MTN/FAZ super league, needed a club that could have nurtured him into a bigger player.
“It is a shock move for Zambia. Kalengo is one of the best strikers we have in Zambia and deserved to play in a highly competitive team. Zambia is one of the best teams in Africa hence it’s obvious Kalengo is among the best.
‘‘He has been consistent and I was hoping he could make a move to a bigger side. It would have been better if he moved to a club like TP Mazembe because they have nurtured our players very well like Rainford Kalaba.
‘‘The South African league too could have given him good exposure. I have no doubt that a striker of his calibre could have caught the attention of European teams.
“We so much want to see our players comfortable. But the move should be able to add value to our local game. I am sure the fans could have loved to watch him every weekend either in Europe or at one of the best clubs in Africa,” he said.
He however said AC leopards could have offered him a better deal and therefore the player had a right to choose.
“Coaches cannot decide for a player, he has the freedom to move to any club. But the move should add value to the game. When a player is not going that way, no one feels good because any coach desires the best for a good player.
‘‘We want to see our best players in highly competitive leagues. I hope AC Leopards will develop and play well next season so that we can see more of Kalengo,” Phiri said.
But football administrator Simataa Simataa said it was a good move for Kalengo especially that he was in the afternoon years of his career.
“At this stage of his football, Kalengo must be selfish especially in consideration with his retirement. If AC Leopards or Kalulushi Morden Stars are offering him a good package, let him take it.
“He has been playing since 1998 when he joined my club as a defender and turned him into a striker.He has saved the country well and proved his critics wrong. Let him prepare his retirement package,” he said.
Kalengo has said he was emotional to leave the Ndola-based outfit although he could return to the club after his contract expires with AC Leopards.
“I have been here for five years and leaving home is like leaving a part of me although I feel I have played my part here and it’s time for me to move and try out a new challenge,” he said. The 2015 MTN/FAZ Super League player of the year and top score is set to join his new club before February 7 when the league season in Congo kicks off.