The Pre-Independence Soccer Match: A Historic Event
On April 18, 1964, the eve of independence for Northern Rhodesia, a momentous event unfolded in the form of a soccer match. The Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, Kenneth Kaunda, organized a soccer game as part of the preparations for the forthcoming independence celebrations.
The match took place at Scrivener Stadium in Kitwe and attracted a crowd of over 4,000 enthusiastic spectators who came to witness this unique and historic event. Notably, it was Kenneth Kaunda himself who led his cabinet in this thrilling battle on the soccer field.
The game got off to an electrifying start, with the select side quickly scoring four goals in the first half. By halftime, Kenneth Kaunda’s team was trailing by a significant margin, with a score of 4-0 in favor of the select side.
However, the second half saw a remarkable turnaround. Kenneth Kaunda, demonstrating his leadership on and off the field, re-organized his team. Honorable Justin Chimba, who held the position of Minister of Labor and Mines, rose to the occasion by scoring an impressive three goals. Additionally, Ranken Sikasula also contributed two goals to the team’s resurgence.
In an incredible turn of events, the match concluded in a thrilling 5-5 draw, leaving both teams with a sense of achievement and the crowd thoroughly entertained. This pre-independence soccer match, with its dramatic twists and high-scoring action, remains a significant and cherished part of Northern Rhodesia’s history as the nation transitioned into an independent state. It showcased not only the political leadership of Kenneth Kaunda but also his passion for sports and the unity and joy it could bring to the people during this historic time.