Zambian football legend, Kalusha Bwalya has expressed his joy after returning to football after what he described as a challenging few months due to the ban imposed on him by FIFA last year, reports.

In August last year, FIFA banned the former Zambia head coach, then a Confederation of African Football executive committee member, after he allegedly accepted a gift which violated FIFA’s code of ethics.

It followed an investigation into his links to banned Qatari official Mohammed Bin Hammam. However, the 1988 African footballer of the year winner maintained his innocence throughout the period.

This week, FIFA said its appeal panel had reduced Bwalya’s ban to the time he had already served, while his fine was cut short, with Bwalya thanking God for finally clearing him of all allegations.

“First and foremost I would like to thank God for always looking after me. This was not an easy period for me and my family and for all the people who have been with me on my football journey. To think that you are going to be out of football, for me it was something unimaginable.

“I have been in football since I was 16 years old and I have never faced any disciplinary action during my footballing life, since my start at Mufulira Blackpool/ Mighty Mufulira Wanderers whilst still at school (1979), during my time in the Zambian league and with the Zambian national team to my time overseas in Belgium, Holland, Mexico, and in all African competitions.

“So it came as a shock to face such a challenge especially coming from a family where my father, Benjamin Bwalya Senior was a great disciplinarian.

“I said that I would fight tooth and nail to see that the truth prevails but it wasn’t easy, especially to sit in front of people and explain what transpired and the reason why.

“I was confident that the truth, in the end, would prevail, but you never know because there are so many things that can influence a decision and also coming from Africa there is a lot of stigmas that comes with it,” Bwalya explained.

He finally thanked everyone who stood by him during his trying time, declaring that football is his life.