James Chamanga has continued scoring goals despite being only days from turning 40 and does not look like he will stop any time soon.
The 2012 AFCON winner is the current joint-top goalscorer in the MTN/FAZ Super League alongside Kenyan talisman Jesse Jackson Were with ten goals.
Chamanga who made it clear that his target his to help Red Arrows qualify for continental football has been one of the outstanding performers this season exactly 20 years after he made his debut for Amakumbi Stars back in 2000.
Chamanga started his club football career in the early 2000s with Amakumbi stars before later turning out for the City of Lusaka, National Assembly, and Zanaco.
He left Zambia in 2005 to join the South African side, Bush Bucks, where he spent a year before moving to Supersport United and later on Moroka Swallows.
While at Swallows in the 2007/2008 soccer season, Chamanga won the Lesley Manyanthela Golden Boot award scoring 14 goals ahead of the likes of Diyo Sibisi, Erwin Isaacs and Katlego Mashego.
Chamanga left South Africa in 2008 for China where he spent ten years first with Dalian Shide were he played 121 games and scored 30 goals before moving to Liaoning Whaowin where he became the first foreign player to play over a 100 games.
At the National team level, Chamanga has always delivered. In Egypt 2006 African Cup of Nations, Chamanga was a shock starter as then-coach Kalusha Bwalya opted for the partnership of the little known striker with Collins Mbesuma over the veteran Harry Milanzi.
The 39-year-old scored in Zambia’s 4-1 defeat to Tunisia. Two years later, Patrick Phiri left out an unfit Mbesuma at the Ghana 2008 African Cup of Nations, and again it was Chamanga who led the line.
James Chamanga made 12 AFCON appearances in his 10-year span with the Copper Bullets.
Chamanga has played at five African Cup of Nations. Spotted by Peter Kaumba at Zambia Under-23, fast-tracked by Kalusha Bwalya to the Chipolopolo set up, with two AFCON experience, the boys went to the Angola 2010 with belief.
With Herve Renard now in charge, Chamanga, and Jacob Mulenga finally forming a twin tower partnership, Zambia flourished at the tournament by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.
Jacob was Zambia’s top scorer with two goals while as usual Chamanga and Chris Katongo registered a goal each, Making it three goals for the former Zanaco player.
Having started 10 African Cup of Nations games prior to the 2012 edition, Renard surprised many when he went for the partnership of Emmanuel Mayuka and Chris Katongo in Equatorial Guinea as Chamanga was relegated to the bench.
With Mayuka registering two goals in the group stage and forming a devasting partnership with Chris Katongo, it became difficult to hand Chamanga game time and to be content with a place on the bench.
In the quarter-finals, Renard summoned the veteran striker off the bench and Chamanga delivered with a goal in another 3-0 bashing of Sudan. He kept his place in the starting line up in the semi-finals against Ghana but Mayuka came off the bench to score and lead Zambia to her first final since 1994.
Though Chamanga didn’t feature in the final triumph over Ivory Coast, he returned home with an AFCON Trophy. Four goals in 12 African Cup of Nations appearances, having started 11 of those.
Should Chamanga manage to win the golden boot at the end of the season he will become the first Zambian player to do so since Winston Kalengo in 2015. Austin Muwowo won it in the transitional league but it was joint with Laudit Mavugo and Zikiru Adams.
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