MULWANDA LUPIYA, Ndola
THE 2017 Super Division campaign promises to be a thrilling one for soccer fans in Ndola following Buildconâ€™s relocation to the Copperbelt provincial capital.
Buildconâ€™s move brings the number of Super Division teams in Ndola to three.
Others are Zesco United and Forest Rangers.
Ambitious Buildcon will be making their maiden appearance in the Super Division this season after winning promotion to the topflight from Division One Zone Four last year.
Big spenders Buildconâ€™s relocation means the teams will play two local derbies apiece which translates into six matches.
The teams will use Levy Mwanawasa Stadium for their home matches.
Buildcon were based in Choma, Southern Province, prior to moving to Ndola.
Last Wednesday, 11 foreigners lined up against Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) side TP Mazembe in a friendly in Ndola that ended goalless.
The club sponsored by Moses Mubanga proprietor of Buildcon Investment was formed in 2012.
Since winning promotion in November last year, Buildcon have been busy in the transfer market signing a number of foreign players.
Buildcon have released all the Zambian players that helped them win promotion to the topflight.
John Lungu, who guided Buildcon to the Super Division, has also been relegated to the assistant position following the arrival of Spaniard Jadrane Hicham as coach.
Hicham has promised to introduce the Spanish flair at the club.
â€œMy football is Spanish. Modern football is not about contact football. I want players who play tactical football, I need players who play fast football. My work is to bring modern and interesting football,â€ said Hicham during his unveiling in February this year.
Buildcon have also strengthened the technical bench with two expatriate coaches a Romanian and Serbian to help the Spaniard.
Buildconâ€™ activities in the transfer market shows that the club is not just coming to makeup numbers but to compete for honours.
The team managed to win promotion to the topflight in their debut season in the lower ranks.
Mubanga bought AM Weldingâ€™s slot in Division One Zone Four last season after the Choma-based side faced financial challenges after playing a few matches.
After acquiring the spot, Buildcon added the likes of Congolese forward Patrick Kabamba and Danny Chama on their roster.
The duo played a pivotal role in stirring the team to the elite league.
However, Buildcon were advised by the Football Association of Zambia not to change the name since the 2016 fixtures had AM Welding.
To ensure they sustain their stay in the topflight, Buildcon have signed striker Jonas Sakuwaha on loan from TP Mazembe.
Mazembe have also loaned defender Patient Mwepu to Buildcon.
Uganda international defender Isaac Isinde, Kenyan Clifton Miheso and Ghanaian duo of defenders Smallboy Kobah and Mustapha Essuman are among the foreign players that have trekked to Ndola.
Buildcon has a handful of Zambians in their ranks – Mathews Nkhowane, Emmanuel Mayuka, Emmanuel Kalala and Simon Nkole.
Nkhowane and Mayuka are on loan from Zesco while Kalala belongs to Nkana.
Buildcon is the first club in the history of Zambian league to register more than 25 foreign players.
And Mubanga is confident the team will excel in the Super Division.
â€œWe have not set any targets for the coach but this is a new team so we are targeting to remain in the Super Division,â€ Mubanga said.
Can Buildcon surprise everyone and win the league? Itâ€™s a wait and see situation.
Nickname: Team Kopala
Coach: Jadrane Hicham
Assistant: John Lungu
Captain: Jonas Sakuwaha
Colours: red, white and blue
Home ground: Levy Mwanawasa Stadium
Honours: Division One Zone Four 2016 champions
Proprietor: Moses Mubanga
Sponsors: Buildcon Investment
MULWANDA LUPIYA, Ndola