2016 will always be a memorable year for Zesco United players, coaches, officials and fans alike owing to the club’s impressive run in the CAF Champions League.
In Africa, it is a proud moment for any club side that reaches the last four of the continent’s biggest club competition. Kudos to Team Ya Ziko.
Besides the Champions League, I will atempt to review the teams performance in the local league where they were on the verge of becoming only the fourth team to defend the title three times on the the trot behind Nkana, Mufulira Wanderers and Green Buffaloes.
The club seemed to have given prominace to the continental competition at the exepence of their league title defence as they accrued a backlog of unplayed games in the league.
Zanaco capitalised as Zesco were playing catch up in the end George Lwandamina’s charges settled for a second place finish.
There were however some postives in their leage run such as striker Jesse Were’s scoring expliots, recording only four losses in the entire season and an impresive away run extending to eleven victories.
The Barclays Cup win over Zanaco was their only sliverware in the kitty for the Ndola giants.
ZESCO won 10 games at home recorded 6 draws and two defeats suffered at the hands of nemises Forest Rangers and customers Nkana.
Full home games
ZESCO United 3 – 0 Nkwazi
ZESCO United 5 – 0 Mufulira Blackpool
ZESCO United 1 – 1 Lumwana Radiant
ZESCO United 0 – 1 Forest Rangers
ZESCO United 0 – 0 Lusaka Tigers
ZESCO United 1 – 1Zanaco
ZESCO United 2 – 0 Red Arrows
ZESCO United 1 – 1 Green Buffaloes
ZESCO United 1 – 1 Mufulira Wanderers
ZESCO United 4 – 0 Power Dynamos
ZESCO United 0 – 0 Green Eagles
ZESCO United 1 – 0 Forest Rangers
ZESCO United 2 – 1 Lusaka Dynamos
ZESCO United 2 – 3 Nkana
ZESCO United 3 – 1 Nchanga Rangers
ZESCO United 2 – 0 Kabwe Warriors
ZESCO United 1 – 0 NAPSA Stars
ZESCO United 1 – 0 Nakambala Leopards
Just like in 2015, Zesco were good travellers last season, 11 win two losses and 3 draws was and envy of many coaches.
Full away games.
Power Dynamos 1 – 2 ZESCO United
Green Eagles 0 – 1 ZESCO United
NAPSA Stars 0 – 2 ZESCO United
Kabwe Warriors 1 – 1 ZESCO United
Nchanga Rangers 0 – 2 ZESCO United
Nkana 0 – 1 ZESCO United
Lusaka Dynamos 0 – 2 ZESCO United
Mufulira Blackpool 1 – 2 ZESCO United
Red Arrows 1 – 4 ZESCO United
Zanaco 0 – 0 ZESCO United
Nkwazi 1 – 0 ZESCO United
Green Buffaloes 1 – 1 ZESCO United
Lusaka Tigers 1 – 2 ZESCO United
Mufulira Wanderers 1 – 0 ZESCO United
Nakambala Leopards 0 – 4 ZESCO United
Lumwana Radiants 0 – 2 ZESCO United
Cliff Njobvu is a keen follower of the team and Chairman of Zesco Supporters Society shares his views on what he thinks led to failure to defend the league.
Cliff: “We used the same players in the first part of the season. Hence they got tired and started having injuries. The time we thought of starting using other players, they needed time to gain confidence but in them gaining confidence, we lost and drew crucial games of course that period gave us to look at some of the players and we were back to winning ways.
I would say some of the dicoveries of that period included Cases and Maple who made names for themselves”
2017 Prospect according to Cliff
“2017 promises to be an interesting year with four Zambian teams expected to fight for the continental spot. This season will see a lot of teams hoping to finish within the top four. This can be seen by the movement of players in this off season.
And as a chairman of all soccer fans for Zesco United he has this message for the soccer fans
Cliff: “The attendance at the stadia. I look forward to seeing Levy Mwanawasa being filled up to capacity in the game between Zesco and other big teams.
Obviously with this fight for top four finish, we will see increase in emotions of fans. These emotions should be controlled so that they don’t translate to hooliganism and Violence in the stadia. We want too see more replicas, more club merchandise and interesting build up to the games this year.
The team has since started preparing and training for coming season and they look set to retain their 2016 team of course with rumours linking one or two out of Levy .
Zesco should have big learning points from last season, I hope the soon to be announced coach will have a serious rotation policy on players to go about various fixtures.
I tip them to be among the favourites wrastle the title away from the capital to the mining province.