Not many Zambians may know Maamba, a small township known for coal mining if you took geography in high school or for the love of fish they produce the big red head breams thanks to Lake Kariba. That aside Maamba is home to this week’s HIGH FLYING HERO.
Charles Muntanga was born and Bred in Maamba. The small town has produced a number of football stars over the years the likes of Spancer Sautu (Choma Eagles), Toasta Nsabata (Zanaco) or Ray Tailor the 2013 most improved footballer at Napsa Stars, the older soccer fans may recall the Kalomo Jetters shot stopper Chris Kabunda in the early 2000s.
Charles Muntanga is the first born in the family of 2, he happens to be the first to trade in football. Charles comes from a very sporting family the late dad and mom played Golf hence the love for golf he had in his early years of life. He was a great golfer and was nick named Tiger Woods, he won a lot of awards at junior level and gave the then stand out golfer at junior level Michael Chiluba a hard time every time they faced off. At the age of 14 he had a handicap reduced to 11. The sister is a netball player for Nkwazi. The Muntanga’s truly have the sporting blood in the system.
Charles is God fearing and congregates with Assembly of God.
He completed his education at Choma secondary. And says school is very important as one cannot depend on football only.
On the road to top flight football, he was registered with Zamcoal diggers. Joining at the tender age of 11 meant he spent most of the time as a ball boy. He then left Maamba for Choma where he was loaned to Council cutter during the time he was at school.
He finally made the big move to Nchanga Rangers where he did not have a lot of game time. The big break was as the result of his performance at the 2013 Airtel Raising stars. Voted the best goal keeper at provincial level and picked as vice captain for the Zambia Airtel Raising stars team that played in Nigeria, the team had the likes of Patson Daka, Enock Mwepu, Prosper Chiluya, and the late Changwe Kalale under the current Nkwazi Coach Chris Kaunda.
Sadly this journey was to end in defeat to Niger in the final he failed to help the team win on spot kicks despite this he was voted the best goal keeper at the tournament.
This under 17 side promised a lot and have so far delivered, 80% of the players that won the Cosafa, Africa cup in 2017 and played at the world cup are a product of that team. Charles may have not been with the team due to personal reason says “he did not or does not feel bad about missing the tournament. What hates more is the fact that Changwe Kalale was not alive to see the dream that was started back in 2013 bear fruit in 2017.”
After a short spell with Nchanga Charles Joined Nkwazi like every Club before he was not having enough game time, which made him think about making a move away from the Police outfit at the start of this season. He had to wait for week 7 before he would not only be named In the team but start aswel. Chris Kaunda has kept faith in him and it has so far paid off.
7 clean sheets earned him a national team call up for the Cosafa provisional squad, and all was set for him to travel with the team but was then dropped.
“Again I did not feel bad about being dropped. That moment gave me more reason to work harder so I do not just make the team but start In goal next time. I am a believer and when God says yes no one can say no and it was a no for me to go that time.” said Charles.
Charles draws the goalkeeping inspiration from Edwin Van de Sar the former Fulham goalkeeper, he is not the tallest but boy does he have his reflex’s in perfect working order. He has shown so much potential over the years and can be considered as Kennedy Mweene and Toasta Nsabatas understudy.
Nkwazi FC Media