By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (April 18th 2022)
In His Name
For a few years now I have been championing the cause of elderly legends of football and Africa. It has often been a lonely path to furrow, plagued by dishonesty on occasion. So, let’s be clear, I am not African – something my accent in any language gives away as soon as I speak. It’s not my responsibility to look after African legends, especially when Africans don’t bother.
A year ago a man I admired greatly and tried to help by taking his plight with me everywhere I went passed away. He should not have died. He did not have to die. I have rarely been as angry as I was over the icon born John Mulenga, but better known as Ginger Pensulo. Abandoned by his natural father – unnatural really – as an infant, he took the name of the man who married his mother and raised him Pensulo Mwaba. He had natural football talent, but in those days, colonial times in Northern Rhodesia, it was hard to develop talent and be treated right.
Pensulo’s talent and football ethic shone through. He worked in Roan Mines and was spotted and assisted by its welfare officer, Benny Evans. In those days they had to work day jobs and train afterwards. Pensulo developed into one of Zambia’s great players. He graced Zambian football for the best part of 20 years. He coached local teams and then developed goalkeepers.
His contribution to Zambian football was immense. His passing was marked with a tribute from the President of CAF, Dr Patrice Motsepe. His grave is a disgrace. In death and life this gentle soul deserved so much better.
Gentle Soul who Deserved Better
Ginger Pensulo’s life could easily have been saved. A government scheme, the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) organised free health care and medicine and more for any Zambian over 65 since 2019. Pensulo easily qualified.
A Foundation was established in his name, yet its Directors and CEO said nothing about this, preferring to borrow money from me and breach the terms, knowing this was to help others.
Ginger Pensulo deserved so much better in life, and sadly in death too.