CECILIA ZULU, Lusaka
AFTER enduring a torrid campaign last year expectations are high at the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) sponsored side Red Arrows.
Arrows under the tutelage of Honour Janza, a former national team trainer, are poised to mount a serious challenge for the 2017 Super Division title.
Despite the ZAF command demanding a top four finish, Janza has instead set his eyes on winning the league title.
But the technical bench has a huge task to accomplish the task and honour ZAF commander Lieutenant General Erick Chimese, who has directed Janza to bring back the glory days at Nkoloma Stadium.
Chimese wants the team to finish among the top three.
â€œRed Arrows Football Club has been going through a tough time. We thought that as part of our way to correct the situation we change the management team.
â€œMr Janza, you are now the mentor. From now, you will be directing activities of the team. Our expectations are very high,â€ said Chimese after unveiling Janza in Lusaka early this year.
Arrows finished seventh last season with 46 points, 35 behind champions Zanaco.
â€œWe are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you are the right man for the job. The team has been finishing somewhere between sixth and seventh positions.
â€œBut we are sure that you [Janza] will lead the team to finish at least in the top three or four. We are hopeful that you will help the team get back to the position it used to be,â€ Chimese said.
Last year, ZAF dismissed coach Hector Chilombo following a string of poor results.
Chilombo replaced Mathews Phiri, who was axed midway through the season.
Janza, who was appointed coach in January this year, has been given a two-year deal.
The former Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) technical director has promised to work hard to restore the teamâ€™s pride.
â€œWe are leaving no stone unturned, we need to fight to win the league title. We can only pay back to our sponsors by finishing top of the Super Division,â€ Janza said.
Arrows last won the Super Division title in 2004 and the following year reached the second round of the CAF Champions League losing to Nigerian side Enyimba 9-1 on aggregate.
Arrows also reached the second round of the Confederation Cup in 2009 losing 4-3 on aggregate to Egyptian side Enppi.
Arrows were also a force to reckon with in the 1980â€™s when they had the likes of Johnstone Katowando, Ghost Mulenga, Aaron Ndhlovu, Paul Chimfwembe, Martin Besa, John Zyambo, Sandra Phiri, Patrick Phiri and Fanny Hangunyu among others.
The ZAF-sponsored outfit has played pre-season friendlies against Zimbabwean champions Caps United and Platinum Stars.
Arrows also faced Young African of Tanzania during their pre-season training camp in Dar es Salaam.
The team also participated in the Four Club Invitation tournament finishing third while Napsa Stars were winners.
Arrows will look to striker Festus Mbewe and Francis Kombe for goals.
Goalkeepers: Danny Munyao, Kennedy Mumba, Medson Luwawa
Defenders: Davy Monodon, Benedict Chepeshi, Jimmy Mulenga, Alex Sichone, Joseph Zimba, Martin Kaonga, Bronson Chama, Webster Mulenga, Rodrick Zimba, Charles Siyingwa, George Simbayambaya
Midfielders: Paul Katema, Chewe Marcel, , Daniel Sibanda, Shadreck Malambo, George Mandu, Peter Mulenga, Bruce Musakanya, Evans Musonda, Francis Simwanza
Strikers: Ackim Mumba, Gift Lukwesa, Stanley Nshimbi, Festus Mbewe, Francis Kombe, Lottie Nyimbili, Patrick Ngoma.
Name: Red Arrows
Team colours: Red (away), light blue (home)
Capacity: 5, 000
Chairman: Colonel Nolasco Chilando
Media officer: Captain Melody Siisii
Coach: Honour Janza
Sponsor: Zambia Air Force
Honours: Super Division champions (2004), Charity Shield (2005), Mosi Cup (2007), CAF Champions League (2005) second round, Confederation Cup (2009 and 2012)
CECILIA ZULU, Lusaka