Football got a rough ride over the weekend, but there is hope, writes GABRIEL OLUOMO

Will he shake hands, will he not? Well, he didn’t. But we did get an apology, albeit a forced one.

You then wonder why the beautiful game is actually going ugly. My mother had always said beauty comes from the heart. True mum. But so are the acts men commit. I don’t want to over flog the issue, but why do we have to drag ourselves back to the days of old? My take on this however, especially with regards to Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, is for us to move on. But then, how can you heal a broken heart’s scar?

And the John Terry issue? The guys at Chelsea are still sticking their necks out for their captain, (Liverpool did and got damaged, apology or no apology). So, what happens to JT then? That’s another story for another day. But it claimed its first major casualty – Fabio Capello. I predict more will follow. Football has lost its ‘pure’ soul, you’d say?

Before you fully commit that nasty tackle on the ‘beautiful game’, spare a thought for a team that showed the world the way it should be – passion, togetherness, zeal and ultimately, success. The Chipolopolo. Every friend I had on my bbm had a word of praise for these guys who showed what football could mean to a nation. I am sure Zambia has never been this popular!  I bet even the aliens (if any) from outer space did tune in for that showpiece. Yeah, it wasn’t the best of football. You would not compare it to a Barcelona v Real Madrid game, but the passion was, arguably, at that level. Even my Mrs had to offer a prayer for the Mighty Zambians. That’s how much it shook the world. The international media was awash with the heroics of the Copper Bullets, and of their ill fated predecessors who lost their lives just a few kilometres from where they achieved the big upset.

“The journey to that victory began a long time ago”, said the team captain, Christopher Katongo. “This is payback time”.

That journey was started by a certain Kalusha Bwalya. He started out as a coach of the team, then a vice president of the Zambian FA, before handling the reins at the top as the president. A lesson for Nigerian ex footballers?

They did show that with the proper passion, channelled in the right way can bring success.

A close knit team, clearly enjoying the presence of each other, with a father figure in Herve Renard. He wasn’t afraid to lash out at the team, like he did to one of the players in the final. Imagine a Stephen Keshi lashing out at a Super Eagles player!

In a week when football got a huge stain on its white cloth, the Zambians proved to be more than Persil and gave us hope.

Football can, indeed, be beautiful again.