By ELIAS CHIPEPO
CHAMPIONS Red Arrows today face a stern test in their bid to end the 2015 campaign unbeaten when they guest second-placed Nkwazi in a National Rugby League (NRL) Week 10 fixture.
Arrows enjoy a 12-point lead over the ‘Policemen’ of Nkwazi, who are tied with third positioned Chibuluma on 26 points, while Green Eagles are fourth with 23 points followed by ‘Men At work’ Diggers on 14 with ‘Powerhouse’ Lusaka and Mufulira both tied on 12 points while Prisons are bottom on five points.
Today’s other fixtures will see Diggers hoping to bounce back to winning ways when they host Eagles as Chibuluma will be hoping to inflict a double over Lusaka whom they visit while the match involving Mufulira and Prisons has been postponed owing to a bereavement in latter’s camp following the death of Dolphin Mwansa.
Nkwazi v Arrows
Arrows have won eight matches with their own draw coming against Nkwazi who held them to a thrilling 5-all draw when the two sides clashed in a reverse fixture at the Yotam Muleya Grounds.
Since then, Arrows have enjoyed a good run that has seen them edge closer to retaining their league title almost half way through the season while Nkwazi have had contrasting results to remain 12 points behind their visitors.
This match will provide a tough test for Arrows as Nkwazi have of late proved to be a good side capable of beating any team on a good day and the airmen will need to be at their best to protest their unbeaten record.
Arrows will look up to the likes of Simon Kapindu, Ephraim Musukwa, Nigel Chibwe, Emmanuel Daka, Vincent Nkole among others for inspiration while the home side will rely on players like Tony Summerton.
Lusaka v Chibuluma
Chibuluma heads into this game bubbling full of confidence after win over Diggers and will be looking to add another big side on their list of victims as they aim to reduce the gap on the leaders.
Hosts Lusaka are having a difficult season that has seen them struggle picking up just two victories but last weekend 24-10 win over Eagles has given the midlands side confidence heading into this match.
While odds may favour Chibuluma to pick up full points and continue pilling pressure on Arrows and Nkwazi, Lusaka might cause an upset and revive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Diggers v Eagles
Diggers last week complained against referee Danny Mulenga who they accused of poor officiating and favouring Chibuluma and coach Robertson ‘Plough’ Kang’ongwe will be hoping for something better today.
With hopes of challenging Arrows for the title already buried, Diggers can only look up to avoiding losing twice to Eagles and aim for a respectful finish on the log.
In the B league, leaders Green Buffaloes make a trip to Chililabombwe to face Konkola as Nchanga await the tough test when ‘Killer Bees’ Ndola Wanderers come calling with Roan playing Kansanshi while it is the Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF) week to be on bye.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) disciplinary Committee sat on May 2 to look at various appeals and counter appeals raised by some affiliates.
On the impasse surrounding Diggers players that have joined other clubs, the resolution was that the players were free to join any other club and Diggers was directed to release the players.
The committee established that the players opted to resign before Diggers registered the affected players.
This is according to a statement released by general secretary Francis Chitambo on Thursday night.
Chibuluma also lost their case in which they petioned Diggers for using their player.
The committee ruled in favour of Diggers since Chibuluma did not register the playera and that he was free to join Kitwe giants and Chibuluma are therefore directed to release the player.
Roan were also found guilty of walking off the pitch blaming the referee for bad officiating.
And SHAMAOMA MUSONDA reports that ZRU is looking for K200, 000 to host the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Division C qualifying tournament in Lusaka at the lusaka rugby Club next month.
ZRU announced yesterday that from a budget of K375, 000, the African rugby motherbody had assisted the union with K175, 000, leaving the union with a task of raising the balance.
Hosts Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria are in Pool 1 of Group C and will be fighting to finish top of the pool so they make it into group B of the CAR structure.