Friday, June 21, 2024

Peak of the Weekend: Arrows’ end to ‘Blaze FC’s dominance had everything

The Zambia Daily Mail‘s Robinson Kunda described it as ‘A Real Clash’ with a ‘bit of everything’

The match between leaders Red Arrows and title-chasing Nkana promised to deliver drama. And it did deliver.

It had a little bit of everything. Even bees got in on the act. However, the biggest mention has to go to Nkana fans, who responded to their team losing by the only way they know – being violent. 

However, not to be left out, skipper Alex Ng’onga also had his moment of notoriety. On 76 minutes, his behaviour manifested when he pushed Arrows’ George Simbayambaya to the ground after the midfielder fouled him. He was lucky to escape with only a yellow card. 

Arrows captain George Simbayambaya and Saddam Yusuf Phiri were teriffic in midfield. They bossed and run the show and gave the attacking players the platform to attack.

At the time, Arrows were two goals up courtesy of Joseph Phiri on 45 minutes and Ricky Banda six minutes later. But the drama started before kick-off when the two teams emerged from the dressing rooms donning similar colours. 

Nkana came out with their usual white away jersey, only for the home team to also wear the white jersey with red stripes, thereby making it impossible for the visitors to use any of their colours. 

This forced the match officials to summon representatives from the two sides for a caucus, but Arrows put their foot down and refused to change, forcing the visitors to wear an unusual green jersey borrowed from little-known Blaze FC from amateur ranks. It meant the game starting 35 minutes late. 

Finally Joseph Phiri is showing his potential. A national team call up?

By this time, the terraces were fully parked with crowds only seen at international matches. 

On the pitch, Nkana were the first to threaten on three minutes through Ng’onga, who reecived a pass from Jacob Ngulube, but his shot was blocked for a corner.

It was a balanced affair affair with both teams enjoying a fair share of possession.

Phiri would have put the hosts ahead on 37 minutes when Banda put him through, but he fired wide from close range for the first half to end goalless.

Red Arrows fans also won the battle in the terraces.

In the second half, Arrows took the lead seconds into the game when Fred Soutra Tshimenga pounced on Nkana Derrick Mukombozi’s poor back pass and passed the ball to Phiri, who finished clinically.

Just as Nkana were trying to equalise, things turned worse for them, with Banda doubling the lead with a powerful shot after a blunder by anaother Nkana defender, Kondwani Chimboni, on 53 minutes.

Things got worse for the 13-time Champions when their former player Tshimenga headed in a third on 76 minutes.

As expected Nkana fans started throwing missiles on the pitch and it seems like Arrows had seen enough, and hit back as Kalampa fans scampered in all directions.

Nkana fans failed to stomach the scoreline and started a fight with their Arrows counterparts 10 minutes to full time.

Fans also threw missiles on the pitch, forcing the referee to halt play for close to 15 minutes.

Arrows fans won the fight in the terraces as Kalampa fans scampered and left the stadium.

As if the fight among the fans was not bad enough, a swam of bees emerged from nowhere, forcing both the police and the fans to scamper.

Play was resumed and the two sides played out the remaining minutes.

Kalampa’s 10 match unbeaten run against Arrows finally ended.

[Robinson Kunda, Zambia Daily Mail]

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