Kalaba, who received R50 000, celebrated a double for the Player-of the-Year and Top Scorer award, but this raised eyebrows among the committee members appointed by FAZ to pick the nominees and winners, with most of them resigning immediately after FAZ overturned their decision in unconvincing circumstances.
The committee had picked Kabwe Warriors’ 16-year old Mayuka as the Footballer-of the-Year based on a criterion that deducted four points for every red card accrued and two points for a yellow card, but were taken aback when FAZ announced Kalaba as the final winner, without informing either them or the sponsors, KCM.
Although Kalaba had topped the initial list of the Footballer-of the-Year nominees, beating Mayuka by one point, he lost out later after 24 points were deducted from his score, which was why the adjudicating committee had given the award to the Warriors’ player.
But on the night of the awards, the committee was taken by surprise when Master of Ceremonies, Herbert Mutabi announced Kalaba as the winner of the award although the cheque was believed to be in Mayuka’s name.
This led to three shell-shocked members of the committee to immediately resign on principle, as they could not be a party to a scandal that was based on imposing the will of a few people.
Those, who resigned were Referees Association of Zambia president, Welly Chikuka, FAZ Premier League Organising Committee (PLOC) member Stafford Kayame and Times of Zambia senior sub-editor Kennedy Limwanya.
Other members of the adjudicating committee were Zambia Football Coaches Association vice-president, Lewis Shambulo, general secretary Simataa Simataa, FAZ executive committee members, Joseph Nkole and George Kasengele, Dominic Musonda, FAZ administrative secretary Raliphy Syachilubi and a KCM official.
When the adjudicating committee accosted Mutabi to explain why he had announced Kalaba and not Mayuka as the winner, he said that it was a directive he received from FAZ president Teddy Mulonga.