By SAMUEL LUKHANDA –
ONE of the country’s most oldest and fiercest rugby derbies come of life today when Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF) host a resurgent ‘Men At Work’ Diggers for battle of second place on the National Rugby League (NRL) table as the league enters Week-Seven.
Leaders Red Arrows, on 20 points, guest inconsistent Green Eagles in Kabwe aiming to consolidate their place at the summit of the table especially with Diggers on 16 points and KPF with 15 points breathing heavily on their neck.
Elsewhere, ‘Powerhouse’ Lusaka will be eyeing their second successive win to move away from the relegation battles when they host rivals Green Buffaloes while Chibuluma take on Nkwazi in Kalulushi.
KPF v Diggers
This highly anticipated derby promises sparkles going by the rivalry between the two sides and more than most of the players making up KPF are from Diggers thus making the rivalry more intense.
Diggers overcame Buffaloes 15-8 while KPF surprisingly crumbled at Lusaka 12-10 to surrender second slot to their Kitwe rivals.
Separated by only a point, a win for Diggers might see them go top should Arrows lose while victory for KPF will see them reclaim second slot and would only go top if they win with a bonus point and Arrows stumble in Kabwe.
Diggers coach Lawrence Mweemba said his team placing on the log is an indicator of good things to come.
Beneya Mukwamba, a long serving former Diggers player, will be the player to watch as he has been KPF main man in the many victorious recorded and will obviously have a point to prove against his former side.
Eagles v Arrows
Eagles will be hoping to blunt Arrows title charge when the two sides battle and the home side will be confident heading into this clash knowing that the airmen are beatable.
However, it is Arrows who head into this clash as favourites against an Eagles side that has failed to maintain its form in recent matches and one hopes the Kabwe side can built on the narrow 5-6 win over Nkwazi and stun the visitors.
Lusaka v Buffaloes
Lusaka finally recorded their first win of the season last weekend when they beat KPF and will need similar or much improved performance to go past wounded Buffaloes eager to recover from the 15-8 loss away to Diggers.
Israel Kalumba, Kelly Summerton, Jackson Nkhoma are among the few expected to lead Lusaka charge against a Buffaloes side boasting of the likes of Elton Luhanga and inspirational Larry Kaushiku.
Meanwhile, Mufulira, 17 points, will be hoping to maintain their edge in the B League when they play bottom placed Kansanshi, on one point as defeat might see Konkola close the gap.
With second placed ‘Killer Bee’s’ Ndola Wanderers out of action, third positioned Konkola, also on 12 points, will need a win with a bonus point over Prisons to cut Mufulira’s lead should the latter tumble.
Fourth and fifth placed Nchanga and Roan face each other in Chingola.