Football Sport

Zesco frontline should utilise chances

CONGRATULATIONS to Zesco United for beating Al Ghazala Wau 2-0 in the 2016 CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg in Ndola on Sunday.
Looking at the quality of opposition, Zesco should easily progress to the first round of the prestigious competition.
However, I expected more from Zesco than the two goals they got at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
With some national team players returning from the African Nations Championship in Rwanda and the rest emerging from the four-club tournament Zesco hosted two weeks ago, the team should have fired from all cylinders.
The frontline was blunt to say the least. With sharp strikers, Al Ghazala could have returned to Juba, South Sudan, with a football lesson.
Having lost narrowly by 2-0, Al Ghazala assistant coach John Baptist Abakar even had the courage to declare that his charges could overturn tables in the return leg and eliminate Zesco.
With a sharp frontline, Zesco could have won by 8-0 but Idris Mbombo, Jese Were, Mwape Mwelwa and Cletus Chama among others were not accurate at goal.
I am aware that Al Ghazala played ca defensive game and the Zesco players could have resorted to shooting from afar. Maybe one or two shots could have hit the net.
Between now and February 27 when the return leg will be played, sharpening the strike force should be top on the agenda for the technical bench.
There is need to maximise on homeground advantage especially in continental games to ease pressure in the return fixture.
It is not a secret that playing away has its own disadvantages especially bias officiating.
It is good that Zesco coach George Lwandamina is not thinking of defending in Juba on February 27.
After all the best form of defence is attack.
Since Al Ghazala are trailing 2-0, the South Sudanese will open up and this could be an opportunity for Mbombo, Were, Mwelwa and Chama to add more misery on their opponents.
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The death of Nchanga Rangers coach Fighton Simokonda has left a gap in the coaching circles.
Simukonda was one of the country’s top coaches and has died at a time when his services were needed to develop the game. He was also smartly dressed.
He had the desire to contribute to the growth of the game as evidence to the number of times he was called upon to drill the national team.
When German Burkhard Ziese was dismissed in 1998, Simukonda took charge of the national team and brought the Cosafa Cup to Zambia in the same year.
The Chipolopolo beat Zimbabwe 1-0 courtesy of a Rotson Kilambe goal.
He was also Patrick Phiri’s assistant at the national team from 2002 to 2003 and again deputised Phiri from 2006 to 2008. This is how patriotic Simukonda was.
Simukonda was reengaged as Chipolopolo assistant coach in June last year.
He was also given another task to be at the helm of the under-23 national team and led the junior Chipolopolo to the 2015 Africa Under-23 Championship finals in Senegal where Zambia were eliminated in the first round.
Simukonda and Zambian football were inseparable and I am appealing to the coaches that have remained to emulate his work.
Simukonda has run his race and may his soul rest in peace.
sphiri@daily-mail.co.zm, phiristeve4@gmail.com

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