FAZ-EDEN UNIVERSITY NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS PROJECTIONS
All is set and teams now know where they will be and whom they will be facing in the playoffs that need only 4 teams to qualify to the Eden University National League. They are all champions from different regions and they have to beat fellow champions to go through.
Below, The ZamFoot Crew looks at the two groups of different teams and the expectations of what will come out of them looking at the numbers and the preparation they put in from where they are coming from.
Real Nakonde is back after failing to make it last season. They dominated the Muchinga Province Division 1 league accumulating 82 points after playing only 32 games; winning 26, drawing 4, and losing just 2. They were the first team from outside Lusaka to arrive and spend more than a week in the capital trying to adapt to the conditions in Lusaka ahead of the playoffs which kick off this afternoon.
On paper, they are a team with Zambia Super League experience, but the preparation for this competition seems not to favor them especially looking at the teams they will be facing. Yes, they finished top of the group, but the opponents they were facing were not strong and several games were won as walkovers. They had a friendly match with a Lusaka Province Division which finished in 1 7th place and they lost 3-1 which raises questions and makes it look like it will be difficult for them to qualify out of that group.
The Central Province representatives won the promotion on the last day and they are coming from one of the competitive leagues among the ten provinces. They won 19, drawing, 6 and lost 8. They scored a lot of goals (59) which is good but the way they conceded 30 goals in 33 matches brings questions about their defense.
Given that they work on their defense that was leaking goals, they may push and qualify, though it seems tough for them also.
The Valley Boys survived from the scare of Blue Arrows and River Plate on the last day of the season. They worked hard for it and in the league, they are coming from it was not easy for them to finish ahead of River Plate, Blue Arrows, and Zesco Victoria Falls who were just on their neck all season.
By overcoming the big names and giants of the Southern region like Maramba Stars, Maamba Energy Stars, New Monze Swallows, and Kalomo Jetters, no doubt, they prepared for it and they will definitely have a big shot at qualifying to the National League.
On paper, this is a team to be afraid of. They played 33 games, winning 29, drawing 3, and lost only one match. The scoring rate also very excellent as they scored 72 and conceded just 16 which is not bad. We wait and see what they will offer at the playoffs as NorthWestern representatives.
But facing Sinazongwe United and Jumulo will be a trying moment for them despite their good form in the regular season.
79 points from 34 games, 19 points above second-placed Mutondo Stars is what brought Jumulo to Lusaka. It was never easy as football in the Mining region is tough and seeing them traveling across the country in the National League next season shouldn’t be a surprise.
They won all their matches on the pitch which was good competition and preparation they received in that league ahead of the playoffs.
Malalo Police won the league with 3 games to go and they are fighting to be in the National League after failing to make it last season. The rate at which they were conceding goals was not bad as they only allowed 10 and scored 49. But here where they have come, they will be facing the champions from other regions which won’t be a walk in the park.
Looking at the nature of the league and its strength, it shouldn’t be a surprise if they don’t make it as things don’t seem to be in their favor. Unless they work extra hard and believe in themselves.
Will they replace Kashikishi Warriors in the National League and have a representation from Luapula province? That is a responsibility that the ZNS side is carrying.
They are the only champions who never felt the taste of defeat as they collected a total of 88 points. But it looks very tricky for them to pull through from this very competitive playoff group.
Young Green Buffaloes
This is the team everyone is looking forward to. The Zambia Army-sponsored outfit had to endure out muscle Lusaka City Council and Young Napsa to finish top in the Lusaka Provincial Division One. They were winning games and their closest rivals kept on winning which kept them on their toes all season until they won the league.
Their scoring rate is excellent as they scored 51 goals, more than any other team in Lusaka. Towards the end of the league, they worked on the defense and the goals they were conceding aimlessly, it was something of the past. They are coming from a highly competitive league that saw the defending champions not having it easy as they finished on number 10.
With the way things are, Michael Musonda and his colleagues will deliver are expected to deliver on the pitch and qualify to the National League but it won’t be a walkover and they may be shocked.
The Eastern Province looks like they will finally have a representative in the National League next season.
They have invested a lot in adding talent to the team that saw them challenge Panza and Young Nkwazi until the final day of the league that guaranteed them a place at the playoffs. They will only worry about facing Young Green Buffaloes, but they are also champions and to qualify they have to beat their fellow champions.
The chances of them qualifying to the National League are very high.
Luena Buffaloes are back again after failing last season. Will they make it this time around? It looks difficult for them to pull through. They were the first team to qualify and seeing them be among the teams that will go back to the provincial league shouldn’t be a strange thing.
Yes, they won the league with 84 points after recording 26 wins and scoring 75 goals. The fact of the matter, however, is that they won only 16 games on the pitch and 10 were won as walkovers, they found the net 45 times, and the other 30 goals came from walkovers. Not a good preparation and competition for them.
The most surprising thing, they have not played any game since June 27, 2021, as the last 2 games that came after went as walkovers, due to themselves deliberately not traveling and their opponents not traveling. Those walkovers will affect them negatively as they did not work hard on the pitch to be at these playoffs.
Yes, all teams are here to compete and not to participate only. But only four teams will be needed to qualify and we can’t run away from that. Whoever will work hard on the pitch, will win it.
The teams that seem to have an upper hand with the qualification are Sinazongwe United and Jumulo from Group A. Then in group B, Young Green Buffaloes and Sinda United have the high chances and advantages. Unless these teams go sleep during this week.
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