Elemon Sakala Junior was born in Eastern Zambia, Nyimba, on August 27th 1980. He is married to Kristien Kloosterman. He grew up in a Christian and sporting family and his father founded several football clubs and is among the pioneers of Matero Tigers (now Lusaka Tigers FC).
After High school, Elemon pursued a career in football and flourished. In 2006, a lucrative deal came to play in South Africa’s top tier. However, his dream to ply his trade in football came crashing on March 3rd 2006, when he was left for dead by unknown killers, weeks before signing.
His journey to South Africa took a turn from soccer to studying a degree in Theology and graduated in 2009. In 2010, Elemon founded Victorious LIFE, an organisation that offers chaplaincy services to the Zambian sports industry. Victorious LIFE trains churches how to use sports for the holistic human and community development. The organisation runs several sports academies in both rural and urban set up, training up children and youth, coaching them for life with a holistic approach to sports.
Elemon has served as a sports chaplain since 1995, in his teen-footballing days, with great passion. He serves the Zambian National Soccer teams, the Zambian Premier and lower League teams, Individual athletes in different disciplines, The Olympic Youth Development Centre and Dhamitee Christian schools.
Elemon holds a Masters degree in Theology and he is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology at Greenlight University, researching the value and influence of Chaplaincy.
High performance Sport and the Church
High performance sport has always put Zambia on the world map, as athletes carry our flag high. Therefore, there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes that shapes athletes in order to attain that status. However, some teams want to win at all costs to the extent of breaking the rules of fair play and compromising the faith and values athletes stand for. This paper aims to highlight the needs of high performance athletes and to challenge the church in meeting the spiritual needs of High performing athletes, most of whom feel neglected. Soccer was used due to its countrywide popularity and relevance.
After conducting a Quantitative research in Lusaka, the results showed an alarming pastoral gap among High Performance athletes, despite Zambia being a Christian Nation. Some indicated: how they have been forced to use “juju” against their beliefs; how coaches and management manipulated them to obey witchdoctors in order to have game time; that they are lacking fellowship because sport is played on weekends; the need for Spiritual and Pastoral care (Chaplaincy). Results also showed that the Church is involved with sports, but for recreational purposes, but not as a ministry tool; neglects members who have athletic ability; views high performance sport as a rival to church attendance.
There is hardly any research done in this discipline, hence, the need to add knowledge to the academic world and to bridge the needs among athletes, while challenging the potential partner in sports development, The Church.