By Fred Kaweesi
When the Uganda Cranes and Africa Champions Zambia walk into the Mwanawasa Stadium on Saturday, it will be interesting to note that there will be no significant gulf in terms of player earnings.
Here is New Vision’s guide to how Zambia’s much-vaunted superstars match up against their Ugandan counterparts.
Kennedy Mweene (Free State Stars, South Africa) R150, 000 (Sh45m)
Mweene registered a fantastic 2012 Nations Cup qualifying campaign with Zambia in the just concluded 2012 Nations Cup tournament.
The 5ft 11 shot-stopper was the team’s defensive bedrock and pulled off unbelievable saves during the course of the tournament.
His notable performances, having conceded just three goals in all six matches as well as converting the third penalty in the final shootout, left him as the leading candidate to win CAF’s goalkeeper of the tournament award.
Mweene is arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the South African PSL having won the Premier soccer leagues Best Goalkeeper of the Year award in the 2009/ 2010 season.
Despite the immense interests from top PSL clubs, he has remained loyal to his club Free State Stars. He is currently contracted at Free State Stars until 30 June 2014, earning sh45m a month.
Dennis Onyango (Sundowns, South Africa) Over $15,000 (Sh37m)
Onyango has not been involved in competitive club football yet at Mamelodi Sundowns but the gangly goalkeeper is still highly regarded for his outstanding concentration and shot stopping abilities.
He organises and commands the defence well. He also contributes to the team’s attacking play with good ball distribution. Suffice it to say his value is still high. Money-rich Sundowns lured him from SuperSport United with a hefty sign on fee and is reportedly on a Sh37m a month deal.
Davies Nkausu (SuperSport United, South Africa) $10,000 (Sh25m)
Despite being born in Lusaka, Nkausu has spent all his football career life in South Africa.
During the 2012 Nations Cup tournament, Nkausu featured in four starting line-ups including the final against Ivory Coast, where he excelled against the likes of Didier Drogba and Gervinho.
Although he wasn’t a regular at SuperSport United last season, that has changed this season and the consistent and fearless defender’s earnings have improved to an estimated $10,000 (Sh25m) a month.
Simeon Masaba (Dempo FC, India) $15,000 (Sh37m)
Masaba offers Cranes experience and leadership. He has gathered continental experience with the national side for the last seven years.
Although he has lost a yard of pace in his game, he is still a pest when he attacks and blocks the opposition with ease. Add to this his ability to provide goals and assists, and Masaba becomes even more of a threat, the more reason Indian first division side club Dempo FC signed him on an estimated $15,000 (Sh37m) a month deal.
Joseph Musonda (Golden Arrows, South Africa) $5000 (Sh13m)
Musonda reached 100 appearances for Zambia in the final against Ivory Coast before limping off inside the first ten minutes of the game in Gabon.
However, he is over the knee injury he suffered, and his availability comes at a crucial time for Zambia.
The 35-year-old is now a veteran with his monthly stipend still at an estimated sh13m a month.
Godfrey Walusimbi (Vipers FC, Uganda) $1000 (Sh2.5m)
Walusimbi has turned Cranes’ left-back position into his own not primarily because of any offensive instincts but as a result of the balance he offers the team.
Ever since he assumed the role from the retired Nestroy Kizito, he has offered Cranes calmness and counterproductive play down that left side.
He is among the highest paid at Vipers at an estimated sh2.5m a month.
Hichaani Himoonde (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) $7000 (Sh17m)
Himoonde joined TP Mazembe in 2010 from Zesco United and was part of the 2010 Champions League and Super Cup winning team and the FIFA World Club Cup runner-up side in 2010.
The 25-year-old, who made his Africa Cup of Nations debut against Cameroon in the 2008 tournament, was part of the Zambian team the title in February.
He reportedly earns $7000 (sh17m) at TP Mazembe.
Andrew Mwesigwa (Ordabasy, Kazakhstan) (Wages not known)
The Cranes captain tackles and frustrates opposing strikers with muscularity and sheer determination.
Stophira Sunzu (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) $20,000 (Sh50m)
Sunzu commands cult status in both Zambia and DR Congo, where he plays for TP Mazembe.
He converted the decisive winning penalty in the final after Ivory Coast midfielder Gervinho had blown his, to guanrantee Zambia the title.
The 22-year-old was previously a defensive midfielder but was switched to central defence by current Zambia coach Herve Renard.
Sunzu is estimated to earn sh50m a month, lower than TP Mazembe’s Mputu, who at $40,000 (sh100m) a month is reportedly the highest paid in Africa.
Henry Kalungi (Richmond Kickers, United States) $15000 (Sh38m)
Kalungi is captain at Richmond Kickers in the United Soccer League Pro (USLPRO) but recently moved to Railhawks until January on a short-term playing transfer considering that the USLPRO was taking a break.
Isaac Chansa (Henan, China) $30,000 (Sh75m)
Chansa left Orlando Pirates in June and joined Chinese club Henan Jianye.
Although Pirates wanted to retain the African Cup of Nations winner, Chansa insisted on moving to China where he earns not less than $30,000 a month.
Hassan Wasswa (Kayseri, Turkey) $8000 (sh20m)
Sometimes the ball has gone past him. Sometimes a striker has gone past him. But rarely have two gone past together and Kayseri signed him because of these particular qualities.
Although Wasswa is tailor-made for the defensive midfield role, he has successfully performed at right-back and in a more central defensive position in all the occasions he has been deployed, particularly during crisis situations. Wasswa is estimated to earn about sh20m a month.
Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) $20,000 (Sh50m)
Fast and deceptive, Kalaba is an instinctive goal-poacher and can also run the channels or shoot from outside the box. As far as the tournament has progressed, no player is so central or pivotal to a team’s success as Kalaba is for Zambia. Kalaba’s teammates call him ‘The Master’.
There are suggestions that had Kalaba not been suspended for the quarterfinal against Nigeria during the 2010 version in Angola, Zambia would have made the final.
Well that didn’t happen then, but it did in February. His value at TP Mazembe is valued at sh50m a month.
Moses Oloya (Sai Gon, Vietnam) $10,000 (Sh25m)
He is already being considered by many in Vietnam) as one of the best in the league at the moment, a player that appeals to several groups.
Those who put a premium on flair love his capacity for the unexpected.
Oloya has been at the centre of all of Sai Gon’s achievements in the last two seasons with either crucial assists or a goal to match.
It’s why Sai Gon reportedly offers him sh25m a month.
Nathan Sinkala (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) $15000 (Sh38m)
Sinkala was part of the Zambia midfield that impressed so much the AFCON tournament.
Though he may not have managed a goal in 540 plus minutes of football he featured in, Sinkala didn’t hesitate when he converted the first sudden death penalty kick for Zambia.
His powerful and consistent displays will live long in the memories of the Chipolopolo fans. He is estimated at sh38m.
Tony Mawejje (IBV, Iceland) $2000 (Sh5m)
Mawejje’s club form with Iceland giants IBV recently has been exemplary.
His ability to hold the ball and bring forwards into play has been extraordinary.
Although he had lost his starting place in the Cranes team due to fitness reasons, the estimated sh5m a month player, has worked hard enough to start tomorrow.
Emmanuel Mayuka (Southampton, England) £25,000 (Sh100m)
Mayuka’s stock rose after the 2012 Nations Cup.
Undeniably the most efficient striker for Zambia, Mayuka was a force that tore at every defence he came up against.
Netting three goals in 450 minutes of football, Mayuka found the back of the net against Senegal, Libya and as a substitute getting the winning goal against the Black Stars to eliminate their hopes of a spot in the final of the tournament.
Not only did he net on three separate occasions, but he also managed to convert the second goal in Zambia’s penalty shootout, helping them secure their much dreamt about title.
Mayuka signed a five-year deal worth about £3m with Southampton from Swiss side, BSC Young Boys after agreeing personal terms estimated at sh100m a month.
Emmanuel Okwi (Simba, Tanzania) $10,000 (sh25m)
Okwi has become an irresistible striker with the Cranes of late.
His pace and eye for goal have become an asset for the Cranes. He also runs through the channels brilliantly, a positive that will trouble Zambia’s defence.
He is estimated at sh25m a month.
Christopher Katongo (Henan, China) $458,000 (Sh1b a year)
Katongo has been ranked among Africa’s top paid sportsmen, according to the latest figures from ESPN The Magazine’s Money Issue salary survey project. Katongo, who guided the Chipolopolo to a historic 2012 Africa Cup of Nations triumph, reaps about a modest $458 000 (Sh1b) annually, which is sh95m a month.
Mike Sserumagga (St George, Ethiopia) $2000 (sh5m)
Sserumagga’s decent left-foot is valued at sh5m a month at Ethiopian club St George.
Besides being comfortable on the ball, Sserumaga has always shown an acute eye for the right pass, a devastating delivery and fierce shot and is supposed to be the creative pillar against Zambia.
Chisamba Lungu (Sverdlovsk, Russia) $25,000 (sh63m)
In 2007, Chisamba was touted as the future of Zambian football when he rocketed to fame at Under-17.
However, the swift left-footed winger fizzled out after joining Zanaco in 2008 before heading abroad to Georgia and later Russia where he settled down at Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast.
He scored during the penalty shoot-out against Ivory Coast in the final and his monthly value is estimated at sh63m.
Joseph Ochaya (Asante Kotoko, Ghana) $2500 (sh6m)
Ochaya signed for Ghanaian champions Asante Kotoko last month with his former club KCC FC pocketing sh72m and the player sh48m as sign on fee.
His monthly stipend is estimated at sh6m.