Football Sport

Bankers breathe life into title campaign

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INCENTIVES were showered liberally. Attempts to create a junket after a positive results were stopped in their tracks by a bunch of rowdy ladies.
I formed a cup around my ears. I was within earshot. Some of the sore stuff vomited from the mouths of the females adorned in Red Arrows supporters’ regalia were too much for me to stomach. It was the sort that were they in a movie it would be rated 18+.
The setting was Sunset Stadium. The sun was bidding farewell at the conclusion of a match were the home side gave a professional performance.
And the ladies diced it with a pathetic shower of insults to show their displeasure. Zanaco had won 2-0 but the home fans were not allowed a dance by the women who took license to insult with impunity.
Football is a game of emotions. But to allow emotions to boil over after a defeat should not be a sight to savour at our stadia. Perhaps, the ladies had no other ways to express their pent up emotions but to engage in unprintables does not show civility for people purporting to support a ‘people’s team that plays the people’s game’.
The defeat provoked the inexcusable and despicable behaviour that if it was exhibited in a military garrison would have one sent to the guard room for a cane and cold water.
The first goal arrived early after a quarter of an hour. A neat exchange of passes between Isaac Chansa and Roderick Kabwe saw the in-form winger whip a cross that was finished by Saith Sakala.
The moment the former Israel-based striker rose in the air to head the ball, it had ‘goal’ written all over it. The next thing was Arrows goalkeeper Kenny Mumba, starting in place of skipper Danny Munyao who is away with the national team in West Africa.
The visitors’ supporters in front of me continued drumming and dreaming of an equaliser. Zanaco had come into this match off the back of a three match winless streak. Arrows were baying for the blood of the bankers.
I have watched Mumamba Numba’s side this season four times. Whenever Chansa is in midfield they are a different proposition. In fact, I was shocked George Lwandamina decided to drop the former Sweden and South Africa based midfield man.
He had a mature performance at the African Nations Championship full of gusto. Chansa has adapted his game with his growing years. He does not gallop like an antelope at the sight of a predator.
But the 33-year-old covers every blade of glass like a contented wine maker surveying his vineyard.
He chooses when to run. He knows when to slow down. That is a currency only experience can buy.
And in this match it was no different. Arrows had a solid looking backline marshalled around stand-in-skipper Jimmy Mulilo Chisenga and Joseph ‘Djoliba’ Zimba who are both seasoned campaigners.
Added to that there is Djoliba’s younger brother Roderick who was at the heart of the defence.
Former captain and 2013 COSAFA Cup winning captain Bronson Chama has been consigned to the bench as the youngster continues to impress.
But with Chansa looking fresh like a leafy vegetable Zanaco were pulling the Arrows defence out of position a number of times. If anything escaped Chansa, the cool Richard ‘Djemba’ Kasonde mopped up without fuss to start the wheel rolling again.
The biggest worry for Zanaco remains upfront. The finishing still lives much to desired. Fashion Sakala does not look like his first name in front of goal.
He is steadily beginning to look like the striker who came from Kumawa before Nchanga Rangers snapped up but his chance conversion rate still has to improve.
A few balls were threaded into the area either by the increasingly dangerous Kabwe or marauding left back Fackson Kapumbu but Sakala fluff his lines.
The first half petered out with the sizeable crowd still angling for more action. But Kitwe lady referee Gladys Lengwe brought proceedings to halt after about seven minutes past the half-time.
Above me, a veteran coach mumbled some explanation of new FIFA rules which was unclear as Lengwe’s lengthy additional time.
Other coaches immediately behind me acknowledged that it had been a dour affair though Zanaco were bossing things. The first half lacked flair players.
Perhaps, the game was crying out for a player like Charles Zulu who can beat a man and leave him for dead.
Arrows had Stanley ‘StanBuga’ Nshimba. He is the closest to a flair player as they get. Very direct and quick. But the human road block formed by captain Ziyo Tembo and hard man George ‘Umujombo’ Chilufya is hardly permeable.
Former Morocco based centre back Aaron Katebe operating from right back is a rock. There is the forward bombing Kapumbu.
Nshimbi would ghost past the midfield in the first half one or two times but found that road block difficult to negotiate past.
The Arrows front two of Joseph Phiri and pin point forward Festus Mbewe were merely feeding on crumbs. They barely had sniffs on Toaster Nsabata goal.
Mbewe’s best moments in his short career has been playing off a centre forward. Here he had his back to the goal most times as a centre forward. After he left Kafue Celtic he went to Nampundwe. In Division One, he thrived as a centre forward. But a move to Zesco United saw him flop in that position.
When late Masauso Mwale took him to Nkana, Mbewe was a foil to Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba.
He played his best football which saw Herve Renard rely on him then. So Arrows really have to re-look at his position.
The second half then began with the home side pressing more just the like the first. When Aaron Katebe was rightly shown a second yellow and sent to an early shower it looked the game was on.
At least for the fans in front of me. It was their loudest cheer of the afternoon.
But soon those cheers turned into groans as Lengwe perhaps harshly judged the Zimba brothers to have connived to hack substitute Logic Ching’andu down. The protests were vehement.
‘Djoliba was lucky not to see yellow for his protestations which went a bit far. The supporters in front of me swore at the three time Zambia referee-of-the-year.
Kabwe kept his head to plant the ball beyond the despairing dive of Mumba. 2-0 It was game over.
At the final whistle, from the visiting supporters came the shameful women who appeared to have passports to insult.
The bankers had breathed life into their title campaign.
League leaders Nkana dropped points against Lumwana Radiants in a barren draw.
The 12-time champions are now staring down the barrel of the bankers who are two points behind Nkana but with a match in hand.
And this clearly did not go down well with the insulting ladies.
I hurried away from within earshot.
Contact: musochi2000@gmail.com, Facebook: Chibulu Ba Muzo Musonda, Twitter: muzochibz, Instagram: muzozed.

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