Thursday, June 30, 2022

A year is a long time in Football – The NAPSA Stars’ story

Today, a year ago, NAPSA Stars Football Club suffered their exist from the MTN Super League after losing their second last game to Police Sponsored side Nkwazi FC.

And just a season prior to this demotion, everyone had witnessed an incredible achievement when NAPSA Stars made their debut appearance in the CAF Confederations Cup.

The team went ahead and reached Group Stage of that competition as debutants, eliminating big teams like Gor Mahia and UD Do Songo.

But despite this development which clearly saw NAPSA Stars FC put its name on the continental map, the team suffered demotion from the Super League.

Head Coach by then, Mohamed Fathi, was relieved of his duties six games prior to the league ending, with his Assistant Coach Chintu Kampamba taking charge of the team until its demotion.

Technical Director/ CEO Honor Janza was also relieved of his duties following the team’s string of poor results.

Napsa finished their 2020/2021 season third from bottom with 37 points, four points behind firth from bottom placed Indeni who had survived the chop.

The Pensioners were relegated together with Lumwana Radiants, Kitwe United and Young Green Eagles.

After their exit from the top-flight, the Pensioners made a strong comeback, winning the ABSA Cup Trophy and promotion back to the MTN Super League.

All this has been done under Perry Mutapa who was appointed to take charge of the team at the start of the 2021/2022 season.

The team managed to maintain most of its players, but also went a whole season without the services of Dickson Chapa who was on loan for a season at Zesco United, and Jacob Ngulube who made a permanent move to Nkana FC.

And to prepare for the Eden National Division One League, NAPSA Stars promoted four of its junior players, among them was Rodwell Mukwanya who has done exceptionally well in the goalkeeping department.

Other players promoted were Thomas Banda, Kondwani Silwimba and Kennan Phiri.

The team also acquired the services of veteran defensive midfielder Sydney Kalume, attacking midfielder Chaniza Zulu and Joseph Malambwa.

During the same period, the Pensioners also parted company with Emmanuel Mayuka, Tapson Kaseba, Bornwell Mwape, Lawrence Chungu, Shaaban Odhoji and Mumaba Mwape.

Coach Perry also recalled Musonda Kapembwa and Felix Banda who were on loan at Buildcon FC and Kansanshi Dynamos FC respectively.

In the Eden National Division One League, Napsa Stars managed to stay in the top four from week two until the season ended.

The team got promoted in week 33 and finished third on the log with 61 points.

Tomorrow the team starts its preparations for the 2022/2023 MTN Super League season.

By Gwen Mulundu Chipasula

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