Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
THE hierarchy at Green Buffaloes Football Club has shocked many by dropping a coach who has performed well by any normal standards.
Bilton Musonda, coach since 2015 when Wedson Nyirenda unceremoniously left the club, has not only been a loyal servant of the club but a good performer.
For those who may have any grain of doubt on their mind, here is Musonda’s record:
• He guided Buffaloes to Barclays Cup glory in 2015.
• Under Musonda, Buffaloes qualified for the Confederation Cup twice.
• Last year in February, Buffaloes reached the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup
• Last December Buffaloes reached the first round of the Confederation Cup
If you asked me, the above performance is good and should ideally have guaranteed the coach continued stay at the club.
If I may ask; what were the club bosses expecting of Musonda? Did they honestly expect him to win the Confederation Cup?
I know Buffaloes are quite ambitious but they need to be realistic and know that it is difficult for them to compete at the same level as, say, Zesco United, for now.
Zesco have invested a lot in players, buying the best in the region, and that is why they are competing on equal footing with the likes of Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa.
Clubs should not expect magic from coaches or, if they do, they should invest in quality players.
Fair draw for Zesco, Nkana
Several football fans on Monday reacted in different ways after Zesco United and Nkana were drawn in the same group in the CAF Confederation Cup.
The two teams are joined in Group C by Asante Kotoko of Ghana and Sudanese side Al Hilal where forward Idris Mbombo, a former Zesco and Nkana star, now is campaigning.
The hope for soccer fans is that Zesco and Nkana finish in the top two positions and qualify for the quarter-finals. It is something that is possible.
The group is fair and I thank the people who were conducting the draws for being lenient with the Zambian envoys.
It is encouraging that Zesco and Nkana have avoided Arab teams at this stage of the competition.
The North Africans could have been a thorn in the flesh for Zesco and Nkana.
Over the years, Zambian teams have struggled against Arabs both at club and national team levels.
The secret is for the two teams to win at home and get a point or go for maximum points on the road.
When the teams clash in Ndola next Saturday in the Group C opening match, one of them should win or the worst result should be a draw.
Both Zesco and Nkana cannot afford to drop points when playing in front of their fans.
Zambians want to see Zesco and Nkana advance to the group stages and possibly one of them ultimately lifting the trophy.
Power Dynamos under the tutelage of Fred Mwila and technical advisor Jim Bone did it in 1991 when they won the then Nelson Mandela Cup (now Confederation Cup).
Now, Zesco or Nkana have an opportunity to follow suit.
Asante Kotoko are no longer a force it used to be in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and Zesco and Nkana are capable of collecting six points apiece from the West Africans.
Kotoko are an average side who could finish bottom of the group.
But Zesco and Nkana should be wary of Al Hilal, who will rely on Mbombo to give the Sudanese outfit tips on how to overcome the Zambian sides.
Mbombo will equally be eager to score in the matches against Zesco and Nkana and should be given the attention he deserves.
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Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI