Nakambala Leopards: What to Expect this coming season
The 2019/2020 MTN/FAZ Super League season kicks off on the 31st Of August Comprising of 18 teams tabled to fight for glory(League Championship and Continental football slots) while others, as usual, will have to fight for survival.
Mazabuka Giant Nakambala is one team participating in this year’s season, an experienced team in the super league for 4 years in a row now. The term relegation always clicks the mind whenever you hear the name Sweetboys even before the start of the league. How will the Zambia Sugar Sponsored side perform this season? The ZamFoot Crew now analyze the chances of the Sweet Boys to make an impact based on 4 factors.
Nakambala Leopards have managed to add new names to their squad that survived relegation in the Transitional League, A team whose scoring is a mystery and something the team is yet to resolve fully, They have now lost their previous Top Scorer Simon Mulenga whose now on the books of Kitwe giants Nkana.
Tanzanian Striker Elias Maguri and Former Mighty Mufulira Wanderers John Goma have been brought in to help turn around the situation upfront for Nakambala. In Defense, the team has lost John Mwangeni and Andrew Kwiliko who made a good pairing for the Sweetboys and were very instrumental in the survival.
Former Nkana defender Given Siyangwe is now on the books of Nakambala as they look to film the gap left by the Mwaangani and Kwiliko. One thing remains for certain, For Nakambala to perform according to the fans expectations the new strikers should be banging in goals for fun.
Nakambala is also in talks with many other players to try a lure them to the sweetest town of Mazabuka but they are yet to complete the deals.
Below are the players that might join Nakambala :
1. Patrick Ngoma(Nkwazi)
2. Mathews Ngoma ( Lusaka Dynamos)
3. Chitoshi Mukuma (Zanano)
4. Chisenga Lukwembe (Red Arrows)
5. Lameck Nyangu(Zesco United)
6. Aubrey Chamulanda (Mighty Mufulira Wanderers)
7. Timothy Banda (Ndola United)
8. Changala Simutenda (Mighty Mufulira Wanderers)
Head Coach Zeddy Saileti and his technical bench comprising of Linos Makwaza, Lameck Banda, Jones Kapokola and goalkeeper trainer Stanley Mutinta helped Nakambala maintain a super league spot by means of survival last season. Nakambala Leopards have a balanced Technical bench of both experience and newcomers to the coaching circles which is good for blending and playing modern-day football.
A notable presence on the technical bench is former Nakambala skipper Lameck Banda who was handed the 2nd Assistant role. With the right players, this team of coaches can make Nakambala a team to reckon with but that will mainly depend on the new players given the opportunity to play for Nakambala Leopards.
Head Coach Zeddy Saileti told the ZamFoot Crew in an interview that the club has bought players, they can afford and they will have to work with what they have.
“The players signed is something Nakambala Leopards can afford and we have to work with,” he said.
The statement alone brings up a lot of question marks but we will have to wait and see.
The biggest weakness for Nakambala has always been the striking force, With little change made to the forward line, The team is expected to face the same problem again. Some positives have however been seen already with new Strikers scoring some goals during Pre Season.
Another weakness will be the defense, The departure of both John Mwangeni and Andrew Kwiliko will be highly felt, Given Siyangwe would be argued as a good buy that can make a difference but the experienced defender is aging and he may be past his best in terms of playing active football. Some good defending skills were shown by the young star Timothy Banda but he lacks experience in the Superleague and he is yet to make a debut.
Biuma Dickson Kashitu, Portipher Zulu, Felix Bulaya and Junior Zulu are the only other players (Not Strikers) to have scored at least a goal apart from Simon Mulenga during the transitional League. This is Nakambala Leopards strongest sector, New taste has been added with Aubrey and Changala fitting in the system swiftly and they seem highly set to add some depth to the Sweetboys set up.
Midfield positions have good additions and good competitive backups as second options are in line. The technical bench will hope the fine form portrayed by Junior Zulu, Felix Bulaya and Biuma Kashitu in the transitional league will continue to help the Zambia Sugar sponsored side put up a good fight in the new season.
Another bitter pill to swallow for Nakambala Leopards fans as things don’t point to anything good for them, something the fans are already used to season in season out. Majority of the players signed are average with little game time from previous clubs.
The project Zeddy Sailleti has embarked on of grooming and using young players will surely bear fruits but not this coming season. The team will survive and will upset some teams but they will not go anywhere near the top 4 as they have kept to pay a deaf ear to their seasonal weakness and resolve with little attention to them.
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