Barclays Cup Quarter Finals-What We Learnt
The 2018 Quarter Finals of the Barclays Cup were played at a packed Arthur Davies stadium on the weekend of 29-30 September 2018 and served up some exciting matches.
From one Giant Killing act to a scary near exit experience for one other giant and one low paced match to a high octane encounter. Here are the Five things picked up from the Four matches.
1. Mighty Are Ready
Following their demotion from the elite league on the Last match day of the 2017 Season, a lot felt and thought _’abena Milambo’_ had enough to make an immediate return. This season, they have bossed their Zone for a long time and look certain to return after 24 rounds of Matches. They sit top and with good reason. Pushing Power Dynamos to the cusp of elimination is just one among reasons to believe that one of Zambia’s most followed clubs is ready to rumble among the big boys.
They kept their defensive shape off the ball, went through the phases of play from back to front very well and had variations in attack.They were coordinated in their passing,displayed excellent chemistry and showed they came to play than make up numbers. The excellent Justine Chinama is once again showing how good he is when afforded time to mould a team.
Should they come up, a few adjustments will be required to beef up the team but make no mistake, _Mpaka_ _Litente_ belong to the Super League.
2. Zanaco FC Must Refresh for 2019
From the start of their Match, they were dominated by Young Buffalos. They struggled to Keep up pace with their Younger opponents and looked labored. They had a few Flashes from Rusike in the middle but for a Top team like Zanaco,having one player on song is not good enough. Their inconsistency in the league followed them in the Cup and cost them the title they fought had to win last season.
If they are to battle for honors next season, they must refresh.
3. Nkana are Strongest Zambian Team at Present
What a performance! Hunger,desire,clarity of thought and unity of purpose were all on display. All these are marks of top performers and it was easy to see why they still haven’t lost in the second round. Everywhere you looked,everyone showed they were up for it. Despite going behind against the League champions,they still found the extra step that took them the extra mile to dig deeper and get the result. They used the ball very well, dominated the important spaces and didn’t give too much away.
Something Big is brewing up at the 12 time League champions and they are early contenders for this Cup.
4. Eagles and Buffalos Must Improve their attack Lines
Buffalos over the last 2 Seasons have relied on excellent defensive displays to propel them to the higher reaches of the League while Eagles have scored an impressive 50+ goals In the league this Year. The lack of an avalanche of scoring chances from Buffalos was not surprising but a lot was expected from Eagles. On the day,both had a tentative approach and hardly showed any punch in their attacks. Both sides chose to use the wings for attack but clearly the approaches didn’t work.
If both are going to compete in the CAF games and keep fighting for honors next season on the local front,they need to add quality to their attacks and find a way of creating chances especially against defences that know how to close off wing play. They need to find combinations that will unlock defences, individuals with the kind of brilliance that dismantles opponents and alternative sources of goals when dependable strikers don’t turn up.
5. Division 1 Has Substance
Power were on the cusp of elimination until their late rally. Zanaci were eliminated. Both these top sides were troubled by teams from the Zones. Zone football has raised a lot of questions about its quality but the performances of the two lower tier sides showed their is substance in the Zones. On any other Day Joseph Sitali,Matthews Macha and Nchimuya Munene would make the team for most ZSL sides. However seeing them turn up for Division 1 sides shows the level of competition in the lower tiers. Both Wanderers and Young Buffaloes brought quality and added to the spice of the competition. Young Buffaloes eliminated the defending champions which is further testament to this claim.
Mouth watering fixtures await in the Semi Finals,the Kitwe Derby and Battle of the Buffaloes. Will Dynamos over Power Nkana or will Nkana clamp the Dynamos?Which team will command favor to win the other tie,will ranks come in play or will it be a typical ‘if You want it,come get it’ match from the two buffalos sides? Time will tell.
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