By MOSES CHIMFWEMBE At Arthur Davies Stadium –
Nkana 2 Rangers 0
MTN Premier Division League champions, Nkana yesterday kicked off the 2014 soccer season campaign on a high with convincing victory over Nchanga Rangers in the Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu Charity Shield semi-final in Kitwe.
The win was a morale booster for Nkana ahead of this weekend’s crucial CAF Champions League clash against Mbabane Swallows in Swaziland.
This late kick off of the double header in Kitwe, saw Kelvin Mubanga and Francis Kombe score in each half to inspire Nkana to a deserved win and set up a final showdown against Red Arrows, who beat Zesco United 2-1 at lunchtime.
Nkana looked a more organised side from the start and deservedly took the lead through Mubanga who found the back of the net on 33 minutes, with a clinical finish after an interchange of passes with Masautso Zimba.
Veteran defender Billy Mwanza stole the spotlight as he commandeered over a watertight rearguard that deprived Rangers’ strikers meaningful shots on target.
Nkana sealed victory on an hour mark when Kombe headed in Shadreck Musonda’s pin-point cross from the left flank.
Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba, who was a silent figure throughout the match, came out of the closet with rasping shot in the 71st minute which went straight into the palms of Rangers goalkeeper, Toaster Nsabata in a one-on-one situation.
The closest Rangers came close to scoring was when Nawa Nawa failed to connect Bornwell Mwape’s pass in the 76th minute with goalkeeper Charles Mweemba clearly beaten.
Nkana will now face Arrows in the final on February 22 at the same venue.
Zesco 1 Arrows 2
Zesco United’s misery continued yesterday when they gave away a lead to Red Arrows in the early semi-final of the Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu Charity Shield at Arthur Davies.
Arrows, who a week ago parted ways with coach George Lwandamina, produced a scintillating performance to subdue Zambia’s CAF Confederation Cup envoys and extended Zesco’s losing streak to six games on the trot.
Cletus Chota scored the opener for Zesco after connecting Winstone Kalengo’s square pass inside the box three minutes into the second half.
As Zesco appeared like they were set to record their first victory, new acquisition Kelly Sichililya conceded a 62nd minute penalty after clipping Daniel Sibanda in the box and Mufulira referee Bernard Chabala did not hesitate to point to the spot.
Veteran striker Adubelo Phiri made no mistake as he sent goalkeeper Jacob Banda diving the wrong direction to restore parity for Arrows, the 2013 Barclays Cup champions.
Phiri’s goal turned the game around as the Zambia Air Force-sponsored side found its rhythm in search of a clincher.
Mathews Nkowani hit the post with a thunderous long range strike on 71 minutes.
Five minutes later, Shadreck Malambo delivered the killer punch for Arrows when he curled the ball from a tight angle on the right flank into the top right corner as the Zesco shot stopper watched helplessly.