Solwezi – A football-mad town celebrates Kansanshi Super League qualification
Kansanshi Dynamos qualified to the Super League on Sunday, July 14th after beating Young Green Eagles 5-4 on post-match penalties. Kansanshi had lost the first leg by a lone goal thanks to a late Adamson Mulao strike.
The first leg was basically a sideshow to the confusion that surrounded the match with cases and appeals and the match was postponed to Tuesday, July 9th instead of Saturday, July 6th.
In the second leg however it was the Solwezi that celebrated after the match. The match was something of a breathtaking affair. Young Green Eagles mounted came into the match with one purpose to not let Kansanshi Dynamos play their free-flowing passing game which they managed and the hosts had to resort to long balls for the majority of the game.
Royd Alphonso who scored 17 goals in the season to take them to the summit of Zone two was again the man who found that important a goal deep in additional time to send the match to post-match penalties.
Scot Mwanza saved the final penalty to help Kansanshi win promotion. The story, however, is about the football-crazy Solwezi town.
After the first leg loss, the fans were somewhat disappointed as they have so much faith in the team but going into the second leg they were confident the team would overturn the result at home who wouldn’t? This is a team who had not lost a game at the fortress, Solwezi Independence Stadium.
A day before the match the ZamFoot Crew went to visit the coach Israel Mwanza to get his views ahead of the match and after the interview, The Crew asked to interview two key players, Mutale ‘Noble’ Mutale the captain and Royd Alphonso the top goalscorer and the coach obliged.
Mwanza, however, asked the crew to interview the two players at their homes and not anywhere in town as the fans were so anxious for the game and the fans would not leave their favorite players alone especially after the loss and on the eve of a crucial game.
The crew then decided to meet the Administration Officer Mupeta ‘Big Mweshi’ Mweshi to give his view and Mupeta was confident the team would win the match.
“The the team will carry the day tomorrow especially that we playing at home but if the worst comes to the worst it will be a post-match scenario. We have done we at home and looking at how Young Eagles played at their home am confident we will carry the day,” he said.
He went on to urge the fans to come out in numbers. The ZamFoot Crew then went round Solwezi asking the fans if they would turn up for the match and their views. The fans promised to turn up and boy oh boy did they turn up in numbers packing the Solwezi Independence Stadium. Somehow the fans might have even been intimidating to the home side.
The Stadium had a crowd of roughly above 10 000 fans watching the match, the biggest crowd the team has pulled in recent and it is understandable as all the fans wanted to be part of the history of qualifying to the Super League.
The crowd was so huge that the security planned for was inadequate and around the 85th minute, the match had to be stopped for a minute or two after the crowd becomes unruly following a Kansanshi disallowed go which goal was ruled out for offside and rightly so. The fans themselves identified the individuals who were through missiles on the pitch and started to retrain them.
After the match, the fans invaded the pitch in celebration and in the process brought down the wire fence acting as a perimeter and some even went further to vandalize the chairs and other properties at the Stadium.
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) will definitely fine them (Kansashi) for the pitch invasion and crowd trouble but the fans won’t care as their long-awaited dream of the oldest team in North Western qualifying to the Super League has been realized finally. A number of fans stayed back at the Stadium for close to two hours after the game singing and dancing.
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