All Rover The World

All Rover The World: Tales from Zambia

Sunday 5 September 2021

Back in 2008 I was in a Zambian school for a few days. This coincided with the economic crash but that didn’t matter one grain of millet to the people of Chipulukusu, a township outside Ndola, near the border with Congo. 

My only significant contribution to the education of young people in Zambia was presenting Head Boy, Knowledge Kalunga (pictured above), with a Rovers shirt.  Other than one lad with a Sunderland top; Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Urinals and Liverpool made up the rest of the teams the kids supported. Knowledge dutifully wore his Rovers shirt each day but he was a Liverpool fan.

It was presidential election time in Zambia and on the way back to Lusaka our group got caught up in a political rally. It was hectic and our minibus contained some nervous pink people as we ground to a halt and became surrounded by thousands of ebullient Lusakans. 

Campaigner at bus window: Liberal opposition candidate, Hakainde Hichilema did time on trumped up charges of treason in 2017

Then I spotted something.  I pulled back the passenger door, stood on the sill to get a better view, and yelled into a mass of humanity, ‘Oi!’ and having been spotted by one puzzled local, pointed and gesticulated until I got the attention of another lad.  ‘Yes… you… come over here…

The rest of my group were seriously concerned… “Stop it”… “Get back in the bus, PLEASE” … “Zanda, this is a potentially dangerous situation”.  But I didn’t give a shit, because I’d spotted a lad in a Rovers away shirt.  He struggled through the crowd, and was greeted with a firm handshake and “Bloody hell, pal. I’m a Rovers fan.”  He expected this less than I expected seeing a Rovers shirt but in minimalist English he managed these immortal words:


“Mark Hughes may have gone, but I’m Rovers till I die”


I gave him a hug, took the Rovers fob from my keyring and pressed it into his hand, and off he went, still slightly bemused. I sunk back to my seat, “Rovers fan” I explained to the small collection of well-meaning, middle-aged professionals from the Garden of England squeezed into the bus. They just didn’t get it!

I don’t know his name. I do know he was supporting the ‘Liberal’ party. I wonder whether he is alive and if so, as good as his word and still ‘Rovers’. Global communications have come on leaps and bytes since 2008 so I reckon 4,000 Holes should mount should a campaign to find him so he can fill this page with his own words! A free year’s subscription to whoever tracks him down?

Thirteen years on, is he still smiling?

*Please get in touch with your 'All Rover The World' stories, whether that be Rovers tales from your travels or about supporting the club from abroad! Email and you could well feature in a future issue of 4,000 Holes.

BRFCS Premium Membership Support our independent Rovers content and go ad-free

Latest Articles

    League Table