10 Best Zambian Athletes

Samuel Matete

A large number of African athletes have achieved worldwide recognition. Some have played in multiple sports and many have left their imprint in the sands of time.

Zambia as a country has also produced its fair share of African athletes. Their achievements and professional careers are commendable. Here are ten of the best athletes from Zambia, covering various sports.

Another great read: African Teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia – Review

Samuel Matete

Samuel Matete

He is a Zambian legend in track and field athletics. He was the last Zambian to win a silver medal in the 400m men’s hurdle at the Atlanta Summer Olympics. Zambia hasn't claimed a medal at the Olympics since then. Matete was born 27, July 1968 in Chingola, 260 miles from the capital city, Lusaka. Although he is retired, he still coaches younger Zambian athletes at the Kitwe Playing Field, an athletics academy which he formed.

Joseph Musonda

Joseph Musonda

He is usually referred to as the "Father Figure" of the Zambian Football team by FIFA. Musonda was born on May 30, 1977, in Kalulushi, Zambia. He is an accomplished and trustworthy defender. He is the most capped Zambian football player. He was part of Zambia’s win at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nation, which was also his 100th match. Although injured during play, he went to receive the winner's medal on the arms of the team's manager. He currently plays for Zambian Premier League Club, Nkana.

Edgar Kazembe

Edgar Kazembe

He has been Zambia’s closed tennis champion for the last fifteen years. He was born on 22 January 1983 in Mufulira, Zambia. He is a right-handed player known for his agility, modesty, and dramatic shots. Kazembe has won two consecutive titles at the Zambian Open Championship. He has been the highest-ranking national tennis player since 2008. He is a memorable torch bearer for Zambia who might win a major tournament soon.

Kabange Mupopo

Kabange Mupopo

Mupopo is a multi-talented female African athlete. She has earned star status through her performances in both football and athletics. Mupopo started her football career as early as age 11. She led the Zambia women's national football team as captain to the 2014 African Women’s Championship tournament. She also represented Zambia as a sprinter at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She won the silver medal at the African Championship in Marrakech for a time of 51.21 in the 400m. She is a recipient of an athletic scholarship helped her commit to athletics full time. She was among the selected athletes for the 2015 world championship in Beijing.

Kalusha Bwalya

Kalusha Bwalya

Also known as the “Great Kalu”, he is a great African athlete indeed. He was named the African Footballer of the year in 1988 by France Football. He was born 16, August 1963 in Mufulira, Zambia. In 1996, he was nominated for the FIFA world player of the year and voted the 12th best player in the World. The "Great Kalu" was appointed President of Football Association of Zambia between the years 2008 to 2016. The Bwalya family boasts other professional football players apart from Kalusha. His older and younger brother and a close cousin also played. Kalusha's professional life was made into a documentary titled “Eighteam”. The Zambian legend is still very relevant in the Zambian football community today.

Keith Mwila

Mwila was the first Zambian to win an Olympic medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, United States of America. He won a bronze medal in the Men’s Lightweight category in Boxing after defeating Chung Pao Ming of Taiwan. He retired and died at the age of 48, but he is a boxer that put Zambia on the list of greats in that category of sports.

Esther Phiri

Esther Phiri

Esther was born on June 14, 1987, and is another Zambian boxer who is making waves as a Welterweight. She is a seven-time world champion boxer. She defeated Belinda Laracuente, which made her a recognized World Champion. In her 19 fights so far, she has won 14, lost one, and drew three with one no-contest. She is the first female Zambian boxer to earn international accolades. She is a female Icon who keeps breaking traditions and stereotypes placed on women. She has had a film made about her life.

Tonny Wamulwa

Tonny Wamulwa

Born in Mongu, 1989, Tonny is a long-distance Zambia runner in the 5000meters. He is an Olympic athlete who starred in the World Junior championship. In 2005 and 2006 he came tenth and seventh respectively in the Junior Championships. He bagged a gold medal in 2008 at the Southern Africa Region Cross Country Championship. He also came seventeenth in the 2008 World Cross Country Championship based in Edinburgh.

Sydney Bwalya

Sydney Bwalya

Bwalya is Zambia’s most winning Davis Cup player with twenty-two wins in the singles and ten in the doubles. He started playing tennis at the age of 8, as a junior. Sydney has ranked 295 in the World International Tennis Federation. From 1995 to 2001 he was a team member of the Zambian Davis Cup team. He has won both Open and closed championships. In the ATP rankings, Bwalya came as high as 1100. He coached both men and women’s team and he has been awarded "Coach of the Year". He was inducted into the Barton Sports Hall of Fame for the Barton County Community College. He is tennis professional at the TBARM Racquet Club in Dallas.

Sydney Siame

Sydney Siame

Only 20 years old, this young Zambian sprinter is a promising African athlete. He runs in both the 100m and 200m. He gained recognition when he bagged a gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014. In the 2015 World Championship held in Beijing, he did not advance beyond the first round. He clocked a world-leading time of 9.88 seconds in the 100 meters at Lusaka recently. He hopes to gain a medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

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