Nkana Vs Zesco United taking over from the Kopala derby?
Nkana playing Power Dynamos has been the biggest game in Zambian football from as far back as 1980. However this may slowly be changing or could have already changed as a new rivalry is brewing between Nkana and Zesco United.
There was an unspoken rivalry since Nkana had failed to beat Zesco United from the year they were promoted to the Super League in 2004 until 2015. In 2017 however things changed after former Zesco United CEO Justin Mumba said Nkana’s time was long gone and that it was the time for Zesco United and Zanaco.
“And I want to remind the people in Kitwe and other Copperbelt towns that Zesco has come. Zesco are championship material. How many titles have Kitwe teams won since we came into the Super Division in 2004?. The old folks that are like my age need to realise that the football of 1980 and 1990 is gone. We are in the new millennium which has Zanaco and Zesco,” Mumba told the Times of Zambia.
Mumba went on to say that Zesco United were more of a continental football challenger than the local league which he felt had become their birth right.
“But like I always say, winning the league in Zambia is not something really that should be a target for Zesco. We have outgrown that. Unless we just don’t want,” he said.
As you may be aware this did not go down well with the Nkana fans and of course the Executive as they felt Mumba was being disrespectful to the most successful team in the Super League.
To his defence however the current Super League Champions have won seven titles since their promotion to the Super League back in 2004 in the same period Nkana have only managed to win it once. However Nkana remains the team with the most titles, 12.
Recently it was the CEO’s of both sides Charles Chakatazya and Richard Mulenga exchanging words After Zesco United were crowned Champions.
CAF CC DELIVERED WHEN THE LEAGUE FAILED
The 2019 Super League season is a transitional league season and will be played in two streams with teams put in two groups of 10. The Kopala derby was left untouched as both Nkana and Power dynamos were put in the same stream.
Zesco United and Nkana on the other hand were put in separate groups denying fans the chance of watching this mouth watering encounter more than once. The two teams will face each other in the curtain raiser for the league, The Samuel ‘Zoom’ Ndhlovu Charity Shield .
The Charity shield was the only game that was going to bring these two teams together but the CAF Confederation Cup delivered when the two teams were actually both drawn in group C.
The fans can now relax and look forward to watching the likes of Lazarus Kambole, Jesse Jackson Were, Anthony Akumu and Kondwani Mtonga going head to head with the likes of Ronald Kampamba, Walter Bwalya and Kelvin Mubanga Kampamba in at least three games and a possibility of a fourth should they finish top of their respective streams.
THE FILL CHILATA AND LEVY IS HOME
With all the bad blood that was brewing between the two giants of Zambian football one would think working together would be an impossibility but just a week ago the two teams came together with the two campaigns ‘Fill Chilata’ and ‘Levy is Home’.
The campaign was all about getting Zesco United fans and other fans Zambia Super League fans to go and watch the Nkana on Saturday when they played Ivorian side San Pedro and get the Nkana fans to do the same on Sunday when Zesco United hosted Kaizer Chiefs at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Interesting enough the Nkana President Evaristo Kabila and the CEO Charles Chakatazya went to the Zesco United game wearing Zesco United regalia. There was a backlash from the fans who felt it was unwarranted as Nkana have a kit sponsorship deal with Mafro.
With the way the fans have responded to this it will be interesting to see what will happen during the games. Our writer Bwezani Mbewe thinks the President of Nkana should continue what he started and the Zesco United CEO should repay the favour.
“There is a chance that ZESCO United can meet Nkana in the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup. Mr Mulenga of ZESCO United should don the Nkana replica while Kabila should continue with what he started .” he wrote on his facebook page six days before the draw.
What is not clear however is whether the two teams will work together or it each team for itself during this CAF Confederation Cup group stage campaign.
JUST HOW FIERCE CAN THIS GAME GET
For someone who has not followed this new rivalry it would difficult to see it especially after the coming together to support each other in the Pre-group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.
About six months there was probably the most fierce encounter between the two teams. The match was stopped twice because of crowd trouble and Nkana was later awarded three points with both Jacob Banda and Ronald Kampamba who were captains on the day handed a one game ban each.
Below is how the events unfolded at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Friday the 13th.
84′ Game stopped. Nkana fans throw missiles on to the pitch after ref cautioned Mbombo.
89′ Game resumed.
90′ Fourth official indicated 3 minutes of added time.
90’+2 Ref awarded penalty Nkana after Kalonda clearly tipped the ball using his hand denying his former Kabwe Warriors teammate Mbombo a scoring opportunity.
90’+3 Zesco fans starting throwing missiles towards their goal post.
90’+4 Game stopped.
90’+13 Game abandoned
Against this background it is not clear what side of this ‘Love-Hate’ relationship will come to the fold in just two weeks when the two meet on match day one of the CAF Confederation Cup.
In continental football the gospel that is preached is that of country over club and with two places up for grabs maybe the two teams will support each other (within acceptable means -Fair play) during games against the other two opponents in the group (Asante Kotoko and Al Hilal) .
It’s not also clear which club Peter Makembo the drumming pastor will be drumming for when the two giants Zesco United and Nkana meet in the two legs of the Total CAF Confederation Cup group stage matches.
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