Football Sport

Buffaloes, Nkwazi in last battle

STEPHEN PHIRI, Lusaka
THE name of the fifth team will be etched on the Barclays Cup trophy today when Green Buffaloes and Nkwazi clash in the 2015 final at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka in a match that will close the football season.
Since inception of the tournament in 2007, only four teams have been victorious, giving a chance to either Buffaloes or Nkwazi to add to the names.
Record holders Zesco United conquered in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014, Power were victorious in 2009 and 2011, Napsa Stars defied odds in 2012 and Red Arrows were champions in 2013.
The closest Buffaloes came to lifting the Barclays Cup was losing 2-1 to Power in 2009. Nkwazi will be making their debut appearance for glory.
Buffaloes and Nkwazi finished fourth and seventh with 51 and 43 points, respectively, on the Super Division log and the Barclays Cup offers both teams an opportunity to end the year with silverware.
The teams drew both league matches.
They battled to a goalless draw at Lusaka’s Woodlands Stadium and 2-2 in the return fixture.
One thing for sure is that today there will be a winner after 90 minutes and it is yet to be seen whether it will be Zambia Army commander Lieutenant General Paul Mihova or Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani who will celebrate.
“The last time we were in the final in 2009 we lost to Power Dynamos and this time we want to win the cup,” Buffaloes coach Bilton Musonda said.
Musonda will look to Christopher Katongo, Sebastian Mwansa, Adrian Chama, Stephen Kabamba and international Buchizya Mfune to win the K300,000 top prize.
Katongo scored a brace in the 2-2 draw with Nkwazi and will be eager to continue haunting the city rivals.
But Buffaloes will regret if they underrate Nkwazi, who beat legendary cup fighters Mufulira Wanderers 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw in regulation time in the quarter-finals and Zanaco 5-3 on penalties after settling for a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes.
Coach Elijah Chikwanda is upbeat Nkwazi will be crowned Barclays Cup champions today.
“We are ready and even if we lost 2-0 to Napsa Stars, it does not mean that we will lose on Saturday [today]. We lost to Napsa and it is part of the game but Saturday’s game will be a different ball game.
“We do not have any injuries and the final will produce a winner and we are looking forward to winning the Barclays Cup,” Chikwanda said.
He will vest his trust in his skipper Chipungu Musukuma, who scored a gem of a goal against Zanaco in the semi-finals.
Others who could stun Buffaloes are Steward Chikandiwa and Lottie Nyimbiri.
Chikandiwa and Nyimbiri contributed a goal apiece in Nkwazi’s 2-2 draw with Buffaloes on October 31.
To reach the final, Buffaloes beat Power 5-3 on penalties after a virgin draw in regulation time and edged Zesco 1-0 in the semi-finals.
The runners-up will pocket K150,000.


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