Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
GREEN Buffaloes resurgence is sweet music to the ear. Actually, it would be right to say that Buffaloes are wounded.Not much was expected from a club brutalised by Al Masry in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup early in the year.
But Buffaloes have exhibited true military character by putting behind the beating they received from the Egyptian club and soldiered on.
So rejuvenated are Buffaloes, who have picked up full three points in their last three fixtures, including against the 12-time Zambian champions in their away game at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe.
It is rare to come out victorious at Nkana, a lion’s den. Nkana have probably one of the sharpest strikeforces led by Idriss Mbombo.
Despite having key players, defender Adrian Chama, strikers Aubrey Chella, Friday Samu and Tenson Mumba on the sick bed and incurring unnecessary red cards by left-back Stephen Kabamba, the team has been composed.
Recent exploits in the league in the absence of experienced marker Chama and budding striker Chella are testimony that Buffaloes play as a unit and do not depend on notable names.
Chama and Chella’s replacements have been equal to the task in ensuring that Buffaloes remain competitive in the league.
Last Sunday’s 2-0 victory over defending champions Zesco United sent a strong signal about the army club’s credentials in fighting for the 2018 league championship.
Impressive has been Buffaloes’ back-four commanded by Captain Buchizya Mfune, whose discipline and experience have been instrumental in keeping a clean sheet.
The armband certainly gives Mfune, in the twilight of his career, motivation to marshal the defence.
Goalkeeper Geoffrey Silavwe held the goalkeeping fort in the absence of regular vault guard Fred Silwamba.
The midfield, led by internationals Jack Chirwa and Felix Katongo, has been together for a while, so has the frontline of Eddie Sinyangwe, Youremember Banda, Friday Samu, Jasper Masialeti, Diamond Chikwekwe, Felony Sitonya, Mike Katiba and Oister Mwakatambala.
The frontline has, to its credit, been scoring in every match.
While Buffaloes have made a head-start, the challenge lies in sustaining the momentum.
Buffaloes are prone to inconsistencies which have in the past cost them the league championship.
The onus is now with the command to ensure Buffaloes maintain the winning streak.
The positives about Buffaloes so far are that they have kept faith in local talent when the trend is to bring in foreign players.
True to the military and patriotism spirit, Buffaloes have retained confidence in remaining a truly Zambian club.
There’s also 100 percent sponsorship and security to players and technical bench in terms of permanent jobs and rise in ranks to those already in the system.
If Buffaloes sustain the same winning mentality, they will write their own history by going against all odds to clinch the title.
Players should remain focused and leave the rest to command, knowing too well that the welfare of the team is close to the heart of army commander Paul Mihova.
Lieutenant-General Mihova is capable of doing anything for the team as long as positive results are attained, especially of winning the league or every season finishing at top four, then team will see the greatness of being @GBFC!
Gen. Mihova demonstrated it on Tuesday when he promoted five players from privates to corporals – Moonga, Lazarous Muchinga, Banda, Chela and Sinyangwe while Katiba and Emmanuel Museka were elevated to lance corporal.
Whatever Gen. Mihova does at the weekend, he has one ear glued to whereever Buffaloes are playing.
To say that he pops champagne when Buffaloes win may not be an exaggeration. The army side last scooped the top flight crown in 1981. They are Zambia’s 5th most decorated team in pecking order in all competitions with 23 overall honours after Mufulira Wanderers (49), Nkana (43), Kabwe Warriors (34) and Power Dynamos (30).
Segmented, Buffaloes’ honours translate into six Topflight titles, five Charity Shields, five BP Cup trophies, three Champion of Champions silverwares, two Heroes and Unity Cups, one Mosi Cup (2005) and one Barclays Cup (2015), the team’s second piece of silverware since the century turned a corner 18 years today.
Could 2018 be Buffaloes’ year?
Let’s just say Buffaloes are wounded and anything is possible.
The author is editorials editor at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO