ZESCO United y e s t e r d a y proved that they are the newest g l a d i a t o r s of Zambian football when they routinely bagged the 2015 Super Division title after a barest scoring draw against Forest Rangers in a Week 28 match played before a capacity crowd.
It is Zesco’s fifth title in eight years, with the only interruptions coming from Power (2011), Zanaco (2009, 2012) and Nkana (2013). Top scorer Winston Kalengo also underlined his prowess when he netted his 17th goal of the season to give the Ndola side the title with two matches to spare.
Zesco have garnered an unassailable 64 points, seven ahead of second-placed Zanaco who bashed National Assembly 4-1 in a goal-glut at Lusaka’s Sunset Stadium.
Wi t h Z e s c o c r o w n e d champions, Zanaco and Power, who beat Green Eagles 3-1 in Kitwe, have been left to ‘scavenge’ for the Confederations Cup slots as only three points separate them.
With two games remaining, Zesco have won 19 games, drawn seven and lost two.
The goal was Kalengo’s 17th in the league.
Mwape Mwelwa’s free-kick found Lazarous Kambole, who placed it to Kalengo to head past goalkeeper Makasa Mufwaya.
Mwelwa fired over the crossbar in the 29th minute as Zesco pressed on the pedal.
Zesco suffered a setback on 42 minutes when referee Milton Mweemba sent defender Simon Silwimba for an early shower for a second bookable offence.
Kalengo could have doubled the lead in the 45th minute but Mufwaya parried the ball from his feet after a cross from Kambole.
After resumption, Kalengo shot wide in the 55th minute after dispossessing Ephraim Tsunanile and a minute later Mwelwa’s thunderbolt missed the target after combining with Kambole and John Ching’andu.
Kasanshi Lupiya, who replaced Mundia Makokwa in the 54th minute, nodded in Innocent Mwaba’s cross on 65 minutes beating goalkeeper Jacob Banda.
Zesco assistant coach Tenant Chembo was sent to the stands for arguing with the referee in the 67th minute.
“Winning the title is dedication from the players, or let me say from the five elements which are found in football, the sponsors, executive, technical bench, the players and indeed the suppoters, we have been working towards winning the league and every part has played a role to win the league,” Zesco coach George Lwandamina said.
ZANACO 4 ASSEMBLY 1
Zanaco came from behind to beat National Assembly at Sunset Stadium in Lusaka to keep alive the push for a runners-up position, DIANA MUTAKAFIMBO reports.
Assembly made a false start scoring through George Chaloba in the fifth minute.
A minute later, Zanaco were level when skipper Ziyo Tembo pounced on a defensive lapse and beat goalkeeper Sebastian Mwange.
Moses Phiri pounced on a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired into the top corner of the net in the tenth minute.
Phiri scored the third from a penalty after Damiano Phiri fouled Boyd Musonda in the 72nd minute.
Ernest Mbewe put the match beyond reach connecting Aubrey Funga’s cross on 86 minutes.
DYNAMOS 0 NKWAZI 1
In a lunchtime kick-off at Sunset Stadium, Lottie Nyimbili’s first-half tap-in was enough for Nkwazi to overcome over 10- man Lusaka Dynamos, ALEX NJOVU reports.
Nyimbili finished off a move initiated by Jeff Banda.
Dynamos international striker Conlyde Luchanga made a solo run in the 55th minute but his final touch was saved by goalkeeper Charles Mutanga.
Referee Rodrick Ng’andu gave Dynamos’ Suzyo Mwale marching orders for kicking Gilbert Tembo in an off-the-ball incident in the 83rd minute.
POWER 3 EAGLES 1
Striker Martin Phiri scored and provided an assist as Power Dynamos thumped Eagles at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe, MWILA NTAMBI reports.
I n t e r n a t i o n a l d e f e n d e r Christopher Munthali tapped in Phiri’s cross in the second minute and the striker put his name on the scoresheet in the 22nd minute with a close-range shot.
Defender Govenda Simwala got the third goal with a longrange shot in the 78th minute and Eagles got the consolation from a penalty.
Defender Thomas Nyirenda handled and was given marching orders for a second bookable offence. Mwila Phiri scored the resultant penalty in the 85th minute.
BUFFALOES 1 BLADES 1
Konkola Blades failed to hold on to the lead allowing Green Buffaloes to snatch a point at Independence Stadium in Lusaka, VICTOR KUMWENDA reports.
Eric Chisala put Blades in front in the 30th minute but 10 minutes later Stephen Kabamba blasted a cracker for Buffaloes’ equaliser.
NAPSA 1 ARROWS 1
Napsa Stars and Red Arrows supporters fought at Edwin Imboela Stadium in Lusaka, CECILIA ZULU reports.
Trouble started in the 83rd minute after Arrows fans threw stones on the pitch claiming match officials were favouring Napsa.
Napsa fans hit back and a free-for-all fight ensued but quick action by the police contained the situation.
No arrests were made.
On the pitch, Arrows took the lead on the half-hour mark through Lubinda Mundia but Jean Paul Semaho equalised from a goal-mouth melee in the 59th minute.
NAKAMBALA 0 NKANA 0
R e l e g a t i o n – t h r e a t e n e d Nakambala Leopards played all the football but settled for a goalless draw with Nkana in Mazabuka, ROBINSON KUNDA reports.
Nkana goalkeeper Scot Ngokene denied Venacios Mapande on three occasions.