- Walter Bwalya starred in Al Ahly’s victory over Al Duhail
- Coach Pitso Mosimane hailed his performance
- Can he break his Ahly duck against Bayern Munich?
When African people hear the surname Bwalya, many instinctively think of Kalusha Bwalya, the former Zambia captain who lost almost all his international team-mates when their airplane crashed en route to a match in 1993. Bwalya was making his own way to the game and was thus spared the same fate.
Two years later, his namesake Walter Bwalya was born in Lubumbashi in Congo DR. With the city more than 2,200 kilometres from Kinshasa, and closer to Zambia than the country’s capital, Bwalya has both Congolese and Zambian nationality.
After beginning his professional career in Congo DR, the striker then represented several Zambian clubs before joining El Gouna in the Egyptian Premier League. The 25-year-old made rapid progress, top-scoring during his season-and-a-half there, which paved the way for a move to Al Ahly in the December transfer window. Just over a month later, he finds himself competing in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™.
Despite going off exhausted midway through the second half, Bwalya was still one of the most effective players on the night, winning the ball to set up Elshahat’s decisive goal, and almost doubling his side’s lead shortly afterwards – only to have effort ruled out by VAR by the smallest of margins. The forward is under pressure to deliver goals, having not yet scored in his short time with the Red Devils. However, the club has huge faith in his striking abilities and understands that the pressure he puts on himself may be behind some of the missed chances.
“He came close to scoring his first goal for us today,” said Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane. “In fact, I thought he had scored, only for technology to decide otherwise. They have a better view of it than we have, so we can’t argue with that.
“He was strong in attack, and we only replaced him in the second half because of the stress and physical toll that these kinds of games exert on players.”
Walter Bwalya will have the chance of a lifetime when facing Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. Were he to score his first goal for the club against the European champions, it would surely be an historic achievement.
“He’s a good striker and his job is to score goals, so I’m sure he’ll find the formula again soon,” said Mosimane.