By NDINAWE SIMPELWE –
AS the MTN-FAZ Super Division race goes into the home stretch, there will be no room for slip ups for two bands of teams -those in the title race and those at the wrong end of the table.
After being relegated to second position four days ago, Zanaco will aim to reclaim top position with a short trip to Kabwe Warriors but the limelight will at Arthur Davies Stadium where third placed Green Buffaloes visit sixth placed Power Dynamos.
The loser will most certainly be knocked-out of the title race.
Power v Buffaloes
Power Dynamos will today end their rough run of tough games with a home tieagainst title rivals Green Buffaloes hoping tocling on to their slim title hopes.
They started this run with a home defeat to bitter rivals Nkana before surviving a 1-1 draw at Zesco United and will aim to pick up a win today.
Coach Dan Kabwe admitted that winning the title will bedifficult at this stage looking at the point difference between them and leaders Zesco United, which stands at 10.
If title fails, Kabwe said Power will aim to finish in the top four and qualify to theCAF inter-club championships next year but quickly said the aim in today’s game will be to avenge the defeat suffered atthe hands of Buffaloes in the reverse fixture.
“Buffaloes were the ones who handed us our first defeat, so weneed to revenge. We want to challenge for the title but that 10 pointsdifference with Zesco is too big so we will aim to finish in a respectable position,” Kabwe said.
Buffaloes coach Bilton Musonda asked believes players need to ease the pressureon themselves so they play freely and win so the exorcise the ghosts of a shock defeat at the hands of Kabwe Warriors last weekbefore being held to a scoreless draw by Lusaka Dynamos.
“We have told the players not play under pressure because that might cost us even a game that we are supposed to win. Power is one of thebest clubs in the country and they play very nice football. So we are expecting an interesting game,” Musonda said.
Forest v Rangers
City of Lusaka are not in action until tomorrow but they will be all eyes on this match as a win for Nchanga Rangers will relegate them back to Division-One.
This battle of the “rangers” is also significant Nchanga who can drop back into the relegation zone with a loss with Forest looking safe on 43 points and in 11th position while Rangers 16th with 33 points.
Warriors v Zanaco
Defending champions Zanaco will reclaim top position for at least one day if they beat 15th placed Kabwe Warriors.
Fresh from winning the Barclays Cup, Zanaco will have to deliver today to keep alive their double dream alive but a game against a relegation threatened side makes the outing a tricky one.
Zanaco go in as favourites with coach Mumamba Numba likely to bank on pacey Charles Zulu, back after long spells on the sidelines injured, Augustine Mulenga and Ernest Mbewe crack the Warriors defence.
Zanaco is second with 60 points while Warriors has 34 points.
Buildcon v Nkana
Buildcon has seen their chances of challenging for a top four go up in flames after losing to Nchanga Rangers and drawing against Nakambala Leopards.
With 48 points from 32 matches, Buildcon are seven points fromsneaking into the top four whose last spot is held by Nkana, who are basking in the return to form of theircelebrated striker Ronald Kampamba who has been crucial in their wins over Powerand Nkwazi.
Buildcon should also be wary of the threat by striker Walter Bwalyathough they also have John Makwata and Geoffrey Serunkuma who can be amenace on their day.
Napsa v Wanderers
Napsa Stars’ season was summed up last week when they lost to Zanacoin the Barclays Cup final having started the year brightly.
Napsa however, still has hopes of clinching a top four finish as they are 50points and in seventh position, five off Nkana with coach Linos Chalwe knowing too well they need to win this game to stay on race for continental football.
Wanderers occupy the last position for relegated teams,three points off safety andknow that adefeat will put them into more trouble.
Having failed to bank the Barclays Cup, Napsa will look to a topfour finish to console their disappointment and appease their lavish sponsors.
Real Nakonde v Lumwana
Real Nakonde look set to return to where they came having failed to handle the pressure of the top league and sit second from the bottom with 20 points.
Lumwana on the other hand, have outside chances of a top four finish but they willexplore it knowing anything is possible this season looking at howcompetitive the league is.
Eagles v Blades
Konkola Blades is another side that has failed to cope with thecompetitiveness of the top flighty league and have been fighting relegation all season.
However, they have a chance of improving their survival prospects with a win against Green Eagles who have done enough to stay out danger for now.
Arrows v Nakambala
Red Arrows coach Honor Janza is reportedly interested in the Uganda national team coaching job but before he clinches that deal, he needsto ensure his side pick maximum points in the remaining fixtures ofthe season.
Arrows face a Nakambala side that has made the most of this season havingsurvived relegation to the lower division in the last two years through boardroom decisions and know they need at least two more wins to ensure their journey in the top flight continues.