By NDINAWE SIMPELWE –
LUMWANA Radiants coach Zeddy Saileti has warned Green Buffaloes that his side is motivated heading into today’s clash following their big win over Zesco United last week.
The MTN-FAZ Super League enters Week 29 today with Lumwana facing the daunting task of maintaining their impressive form following their 3-0 mauling of Zesco in Ndola when they host wounded Buffaloes.
Today’s other Week 29 MTN/FAZ Super League fixtures would see a legendary fixture grip Kabwe residents when Kabwe Warriors and Nkana face off with contrasting targets while Power Dynamos will look to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome Nakambala Leopards at Arthur Davis Stadium.
Zesco United seek redemption with an away tie against Real Nakonde while a double header awaits Edwin Imboela Stadium as Nkwazi battle Konkola Blades starting earlier followed by Napsa Stars versus Red Arrows.
The second double header of the day will see Forest Rangers take on Green Eagles and later on Buildcon will entertain Mufulira Wanderers at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Lumwana v Buffaloes
SAILETI issued Buffaloes with a warning that his side is motivated after a big win against Zesco and the players were ready to continue beating the big sides in the league.
He said it is always a huge task to face league leaders but it was also a motivation as the players were aware that a positive result will boost their confidence.
“This is a big game for us. Buffaloes are currently leading and are in good form but we are coming from a big win against Zesco so we are highly motivated,” Saileti said.
But Buffaloes will be wounded after their ejection from the Barclays Cup last weekend and will vent their anger on Lumwana.
Coach Bilton Musonda said the team needed to forget the Barclays Cup exit disappointment and refocus on winning the league.
“We needed a quick recovery, it will be a tricky game because Lumwana are strong when playing at home. We need to concentrate fully because everyone wants to beat the team that is at the top,” Musonda said.
Buffaloes are unbeaten in eight league matches and have the best form in the league while the hosts have only won twice in eight matches but have an impressive home record of one defeat throughout the season.
Buffaloes lead the league with 53 points while Lumwana are 11 points behind on ninth position.
Warriors v Nkana
In the old days this fixture would have been a potential title decider but fortunes have changed at both clubs and as they meet today with either side having a different ambitions for the season.
While third placed Nkana has done well to revive their chances to win the league after a shaky start, Warriors have continued to struggle and their only best target is to survive relegation this year.
Nkana made most of last weekend recess took by going to Mongu for team rebuilding and they head into the match with renewed vigour and focus.
Warriors are two places above the relegation zone and will be under pressure to pick maximum points knowing the threat that comes with the likes of Walter Bwalya and Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba.
But it is never easy to predict when two legendary teams face off as the hosts may get the better of their opponents regardless of their position on the table.
Power v Nakambala
Power had looked destined to be strong favourites to win the league with some consistent display and wins but a dip in form has seen them drop from the top to fourth position with 10 games before the close of the season.
As they host Nakambala, Power will be searching their first win five matches which is a poor record for a coach like Dan Kabwe.
What is worrying though is that Nakambala is very unpredictable and despite no one giving the Mazabuka based side a chance to survive, the team has managed to stay out relegation trouble as they sit 14th on the table with 34 points.
The first leg ended in a scoreless draw in Mazabuka and the “Sweet Boys” will be confident of a good result in Kitwe.
Nakonde v Zesco
Zesco may end the season as the most disappointing team of the year looking at what they achieved last year and what they have done so far this year.
Despite poor form and disappointing results, coach Zltko Krmpotic has maintained that the team is doing fine and headed in the right direction.
Krmpotic has the chance to prove his words as he visits Real Nakonde today hoping to pick their first win in five matches.
After being ejected from the CAF Confederation Cup by SuperSport United, Zesco followed it up with hard fought win against division one outfit Kitwe United in the Barclays Cup quarter final which was more than what they needed to lift their spirits.
Nakonde on the other hand have nothing to fight as they have slim chances of surviving relegation in their debut season in the top flight.
Napsa v Arrows
NAPSA stand in coach Linos Makwaza said the derby against Red Arrows will be tough but his charges were ready for it.
Makwaza said Napsa needed the points more because they had set targets which they wanted to meet before the close of the season.
Arrows coached by one of the most qualified coaches in Zambia have failed to live up to their billing as they languish in mid table with 37 points.
Napsa will be boosted with their qualification to the semi finals of the Barclays Cup as they hope to maintain winning consistency to clinch one of the four CAF spots for next year.
Nkwazi v Blades
Nkwazi sidelined coach Albert Mpande earlier this week due to what they termed poor results and his assistant Kenneth Malitoli will be in charge for the first time.
Malitoli will be happy to start his assignment with a struggling side, Blades as he aims to make an instant impact.
However, Blades are coming from a big win against Power Dynamos and facing a team that is placed 10th on the table will give them hope of a second consecutive victory.
Buildcon v Wanderers
Builcon have established themselves as a Super League side despite playing in the top flight for the first time and their eighth position on the table speaks volumes.
They face a team, Wanderers, that has nothing but rich history to boast about and the hosts look set to pick a comfortable win.
Wanderers have found themselves on the wrong side of the table again like last season sitting one place above the relegation zone and will need to pull another late stunt to beat the drop.
Forest v Eagles
The two sides are separated by one point going into the match with the hosts on top of their opponents on 35 points.
Coach Aggrey Chiyangi has shown everyone what a good coach he is by transforming an Eagles side that looked so ordinary into a force to reckon with and as he faces Perry Mutapa’s side today, he will be confident of maximum points.
Forest inconsistency has been their undoing this season and their 15th place on the table is evident that they need to improve if they are to end on a respectable position.
Playing tomorrow, Zanaco hosts City of Lusaka Dynamos welcome Nchanga