By NDINAWE SIMPELWE -
ZESCO United general secretary Justin Mumba has taunted both Nkana and Power Dynamos, saying their days of dominance are long gone and that the Ndola side is the new football powerhouse.
Speaking after bagging the 2017 league title on Saturday, Mumba charged that Zesco had consolidated its place in the Zambia Super division as a giant and reminded the Kitwe sides that their past glory of the 1980’s and 1990’s was gone.
Mumba said the new era had Zanaco and Zesco as the country’s big teams adding that winning six league titles after gaining promotion in 2004 was no mean achievement.
“And I want to remind the people in Kitwe and other Copperbelt towns that Zesco has come. Zesco are championship material. How many titles have Kitwe teams won since we came into the Super Division in 2004?
“The old folks that are like my age need to realise that the football of 1980 and 1990 is gone. We are in the new millennium which has Zanaco and Zesco,” Mumba said.
In the last 16 seasons, Zesco and Zanaco have won 13 titles between them with Nkana, Power Dynamos and Red Arrows the only other sides to have won the league just once each.
In this period, Zanaco has bagged the title seven times and Zesco taking the other six.
Mumba said he was happy that Zesco won the league after a tough season but was quick to boast that at the level they had reached, Zesco should not be waiting until the last day of the season to be crowned champions.
He said winning the local league has become Zesco’s birthright and should not be a hard target for the team.
“But like I always say, winning the league in Zambia is not something really that should be a target for Zesco. We have outgrown that. Unless we just don’t want,” he said.
Mumba said the target was to conquer Africa especially after reaching the semi-final of the 2016 Champions League.
He said the target was to beat the record they set in 2016 and that it was disappointing to see the team fail to go past the quarter-final in the Confederation Cup this year.
Mumba added that the Zesco United brand had grown beyond borders and everyone involved should realise that the team is about winning titles not just making up numbers.
“People must go and work hard, we must go and beat our own record. The brand itself, Zesco United Football Club has grown beyond borders.
“It’s no longer a small brand. So to play for Zesco United, one needs to know that it is all about winning trophies,” Mumba said.
Mumba also commended acting head coach Tenant Chembo for leading the team after Zlatko Krmpotic was put on forced leave.
He said Chembo had shown that he was able to work with the players and win matches as he did not lose a match after taking over.
“The moment we put Zlatko on leave, there was a lot of emphasis on the team that they should be able to fight for the title. We haven’t lost a game since then. We would have wrapped up this title way back, not even to come and win on the last day,” he said.
He said a decision on Krmpotic and Chembo would be made during the end of year meeting ahead of the pre-season training.
“What was important is that Tenant has proved that he can do it and he has done it and I’m happy for him. For Zlatko he played his part, he contributed his part. Maybe his philosophy didn’t just work.