Charly Musonda

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Charles Musonda
Personal information
Full name Charles Musonda
Date of birth (1969-08-22) 22 August 1969 (age 44)
Place of birth Mufulira, Zambia
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Mufulira Wanderers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1987 Cercle Brugge 19 (1)
1987–1997 R.S.C. Anderlecht 109 (6)
1996–1997 Sacramento Scorpions (loan) 0 (0)
1997–1998 Energie Cottbus 0 (0)
National team
1988–1993 Zambia 48 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 July 2007.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 4 July 2007

Charles Musonda (born 22 August 1969 in Mufulira), also known as Charly Musonda is a former Zambian professional football player. At his peak, he played as a midfielder for Belgian Champions Anderlecht.

Career[edit]

Musonda started playing football in his hometown, at Mufulira Wanderers, swiftly rising through the junior ranks when it became clear that he was exceptionally gifted and had no peers. He made his debut for Wanderers in the 1985 Zambian football season as a teenager, featuring alongside players such as Kalusha Bwalya, Ashious Melu and Efford Chabala. It was not long before Musonda made his international debut on 19 November 1985 against Zaire in Kinshasa in a friendly which Zambia won 1–0

Musonda manned Zambia's midfield in their first game at the 1986 African Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt against Cameroun but his tournament ended early when he got injured. This turned out to be the only African Nations Cup that Musonda would take part in. In his prime, he was considered better than Pele.

After Kalusha Bwalya signed for Cercle Brugge in December 1985, Musonda followed suit, also signing for Brugge in March 1986 for $25,000 where it was discovered that one of his legs was slightly shorter than the other, a condition no one had noticed while he was in Zambia. This caused him some discomfort until he started playing in specially designed boots. He stayed at Cercle Brugge for a season and then moved to Anderlecht where despite his young age, he become one of the key players of the team. In his first two seasons at Anderlecht, Musonda would twice win the Belgian Cup.

His debut as a professional for Zambia came in 1988 against Ghana in Lusaka which Zambia won 2–0 and Musonda did not disappoint, tellingly imposing himself on the game. He was one of the star players at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul as Zambia became the first African Country to make it to the quarter finals of the games, trouncing Italy and Guatemala with 4–0 scorelines.[1]

Musonda's performances won him many admirers with many in Zambia calling him a mid-field genius who was the most skillful player of his generation. Popular soccer magazine France Football were also in on the act describing him as ‘lacking a bit in height but what he lacks, he makes up in skill.’

In 1991, Musonda would also win the Belgian First division title and the following year featured for Anderlecht in the European Cup Winners final with an impressive performance despite losing to Sampdoria 2–0. Sampdoria considered signing him but an injury put an end to their interest. Throughout his career in Europe, Musonda suffered a number injuries which led to him playing only a few games for his country. This also did not endear him to fans as some of them felt that he chose his club over his country. The injuries also meant that Musonda started to become unsure of his place in the first team, but he decided to stay at Anderlecht.

When a plane carrying the Zambian National team developed problems and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Gabon on 28 April 1993 killing all 30 people on board including crew members and Football Association of Zambia president Michael Mwape, Musonda was traumatised as he was supposed to have been on the same plane. According to one report, he was called up by the national coach Godfrey Chitalu for the 1994 World Cup qualification match against Senegal but Anderlecht's team manager, Michel Verschueren, asked him to refuse the invitation and to play for Anderlecht, which Musonda did and therefore missed the fateful flight, though in an interview Musonda himself disclosed that when he first heard about the plane crash, he was in bed recovering from knee surgery and that was what saved his life. He would undergo seven operations on the same knee between 1991 and 1996.[2]

He then stated that he had been so affected by the crash that he would not play for his country again. This saw Kalusha Bwayla soldiering on with a new team that came within a point of qualifying for the World Cup won the silver medal at the 1994 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

Zambian fans were unhappy that Musonda had not featured for Zambia in their attempt to make it to the World Cup as he had rescinded his decision not to play for Zambia but subsequently claimed he was injured. In the final qualifying game against Morocco, Musonda came on as a substitute despite clearly not being match fit and in the dying minutes of the game almost got the much needed equalizing goal that Zambia needed to book a ticket to the USA 94 World Cup but got a boot in the face and lost a tooth for his troubles as referee Jean-Fidel Diramba ignored the Zambians' penalty appeals. This turned out to be Musonda's last ever appearance for Zambia.

In November 1995, Musonda almost made a comeback for Zambia under Roald Poulsen during the Simba Four Nations tournament in South Africa but he suffered a recurrence of an old injury during training. In January 1997, another comeback was in the offing as Zambia faced South Africa in a crucial 1998 World Cup qualifier but there were reports of a falling out between him and Bwalya. Musonda pulled out of the game claiming he had a pulled muscle and Zambia only managed a goalless draw.

In the 1996–1997 season, Musonda was loaned to Sacramento Scorpions in the US and enjoyed a career resurgence but he would eventually leave Anderlecht and move to Energie Cottbus in the German Second division. It all would not matter much as another injury put an end to his career in 1998 at the age of 29.

Musonda returned to Anderlecht to become a youth coach and kit manager for the first team.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Musonda has three sons Lamisha (20),[4] Tyka (18)[5] and Charles Jnr. (16)[6] who all featured for Anderlecht's youth teams. Musonda's son Lamisha featured in the goal project with David Beckham. As of 9 June 2012, they joined Chelsea FC's youth ranks, joining fellow Belgium players Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard,Thorgan Hazard and Thibaut Courtois

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Charles Musonda Biography and Statistics". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Christopher Berti. "Charly Musonda, l'homme au sourire éternel". DH Journal, 23 January 2004. Retrieved on 2008-11-23.
  3. ^ Cerclemuseum.be.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ [3][dead link]