The season is here
THE ZAMBIA SUPER LEAGUE PROSPECTS – 2019-2020 SEASON
Who will finish where?
Who will win promotion and get relegated?
Its that time again and my thoughts are clear as it is that time of the year again, The Zambia Super League is here and as always my predictions to are here:
A few surprises, plenty of imponderables and a slight excuse that it is still not transfer deadline day yet. Things may still change but let me be courageous enough to go for this.
So here we go – This is not done in any order of seniority but the prediction list will come after previewing the 18 teams.
Nkana will be the team to beat, they have done well in the transfer window and the freedom off CAF is a big advantage for them.
Idris Mbombo’s presence, so vital before he left for Sudan will be a big boost for the team but class in all parts of the field will be a big ingredient to count title number 13. There is a big possibility and don’t count Nkana out of the race. They are favourite.
ZESCO United will try to be the first team in the history of the League to win four in a row this season and they have the confidence to make them believe that. The Champions League run though will determine what they will do in the league this season.
ZESCO United may not have made the big eye-catching purchase as deadline day approaches but all their big stars such as Odhiambo and Jesse Were are secured and this is a team built to last. We are yet to see what Umaru is bringing to this team.
George Lwandamina’s team is not going away. It will be a fight to the finish but it may well be that the four in a row will have to wait for another time.
It is always a strange pre-season transfer for Eagles with some discontented thoughts of the fans. When they think the team will change the policy to add up some foreign players, the team still sticks to its policy. Stand up for Zambian talent. This, however, is still a club and a team in fine shape.
Eagles reached the Super League final last season, which will have whetted the appetite, and as well managed to qualify for CAF Champions League and we don’t know how long they will be in that competition with a big game against Orlando Pirates coming up having gotten the win in the first leg.
The title? No – not this time.
The super League’s top three is pretty clear (when viewed through this crystal ball, at least) but it will be a real dogfight for that last Champions League place and several clubs may be involved.
ZANACO has taken a real gamble appointing Kelvin Kaindu after he was fired at Power Dynamos. You may want to sugarcoat the move but it brings pressure on Numba Mumamba. Let’s see how that goes.
Is this part of rebranding Marlon Kananda is bringing to the Bankers. Some hope and will have to wait and see how this will it work. For me, it looks more of transition than realism?
But this is ZANACO, they have an uncanny habit of achieving against the odds. Never bet against ZANACO for a trophy either. They may surprise you.
For all the cheerleading and predictable talk about a “feelgood factor”, I have serious doubts that Fordson Kabole is the man to turn around this big beast of the Super League – doubts voiced before the initial bounce was deflated into those embarrassing performances at the end of last season.
Can Kabole turn around Dynamo’s decline? A game-changing signing in the next day or two may help but currently, I struggle to foresee a top-four place.
Team Kopala will challenge ZANACO, Nkana and ZESCO United for a top-four place and will not go short of goals with some players arriving at the club.
But this Buildcon side, now with Tenant as the boss, still lacks leadership, and the coach must cure the old flaws such as great leader on the pitch like the on-loan Adam Bahn to Nkana.
They blew their Champions League chances late on last season and lost it to Green Eagles – hardly a catastrophic failure but can they take the next step?
The best bet may be qualifying to CAF again, possibly pushing for Champions League. The league looks far fetched. They have a lot of work to do.
Forest Rangers had a perfect transitional season. The first half of the season they played strongly and attractively, illustrated by home wins over Power Dynamos, Buildcon and Nkwazi – and they were backed for a CAF slot which they let go
Austin Muwowo will be a real loss but Forest Rangers have secured the classy Conlyde Luchanga, added the talented Muzaza it looks the Austin void is covered.
If they can get it right in the final days of the transfer window, and that must include adding a central defender, they could have a real crack at that top six and beyond.
Optimism abounds at Green Buffaloes, thanks to Justin Chinama who joins Bilton Musonda on the technical bench. This should be a glimmer of hope for the Army men who were very poor in the transitional season.
The Army boys are another club with genuine top-six aspirations because I think the top four will still be far fetched for the soldiers.
Diamond Chikwekwe is a loss but they have recouped serious additions of gifted Young talents I saw in a friendly against Kansanshi Dynamos.
Bilton will also want to prove his worth after being sidelined at the start of last season. So I fully expect a very satisfactory season for GBFC with the combination of Bilton and Chinama but top four looks a bit tough.
They had rare success with a surprise finish last season but that wasn’t enough to push them into continental football.
Chisi Mbewe’s side delivered and proved an excellent top-flight addition, backed by good results and fought until the last day. Excellent season by Bruce Musakanya who attracted a lot of requests at the end of the transitional season.
No longer a surprise package and with another chance for a real fight for CAF to navigate, I’m not going so high this season but fully expect a top-8 finish, I have not seen any signings and hence the team looks more likely what we saw last season.
CAF slot will be tough to achieve this season for Arrows.
It was a season of relative serenity at Kabwe Warriors under the experienced Tenant Chilumba, whose air of calm made it a solid first season in charge. What a run, one loss on the last day of the season.
The addition of Prosper Chiluya from Kafue Celtic and Midfielder Ali Sadick from TP Mazembe will add quality and creativity, and you can bracket Warriors with those other clubs who might fancy breaking into the top six if they get the wind in their sails.
Otherwise, the transitional season was the closest they got into CAF season. The full season will be tough.
Yes – you have read it right, Mufulira Wanderers supporters. We may still have relegation tip this season for our beloved Maite, which may, of course, be bad news.
The painful embarrassment of always fighting relegation is here again. It was a very decent season for Justin Chinama until the CEO decided to take over that team, thank God Elijah Chikwanda somehow found a way to survive and this is all because of the inconsistent of Kitwe United in Stream A.
Attram Kwame, former ZANACO striker will remain the talisman and Elijah Chikwanda will again deliver the magic. Another dog fight battle finishes but if the teams coming up from division one will organise themselves very well, Mufulira Wanderers will be in trouble.
After losing their sure touch with player exodus and if not an exodus, a push by players wanting to exit, its difficult to still push on for CAF slot with Lusaka Dynamos.
Its been short-lived happiness and prospect at this team which came with a lot of promises two seasons ago.
The Coaches did their best, they ensured CAF positions last season with a high-energy style that they will have further engrained in the close season, an approach that saw a revival for the team with Petrus Tshitembi on the centre. But of course, we know what that deduction of points meant for the team.
If the players that are reported back will focus, then maybe just maybe Lusaka Dynamos will still push.
My thought is that LD will be an interesting story this season and watching them may be very entertaining too. A top-eight finish wouldn’t be a bad idea.
KYSA’s dip in form that plunged them into trouble the other season was surely due to lack of experience in the Super League.
They have not been public with the new team and hence we don’t know the new look while heavy responsibility will fall on the shoulders of the technical bench in their return to the Super League. This time that push will be to survive.
KYSA has many supporters within Kabwe as the Kabwerians are always good with supporting local teams. The other season’s decline must mean worries this time around if they do not make a good start.
I still don’t think they will survive relegation and this one will be tough than their first season in the Super League.
Where do you even start? Where will this all end? It’s Muhammad Fathi again at Napsa Stars. Just like last season, he is again pushing for a top-four slot.
Fathi predictably will do well with this team this season but he needs to get the fans along and tag in the same direction as early as possible.
Muhammad Fathi is experienced and a realist. He will know he must make a big early impression or this has the potential to be a very miserable existence for the Pensioners. They can’t continue being the mid-table fighters.
For the sponsor, they could be telling themselves …
When will the torture end for Napsa Stars? It may get worse before it gets better. But this time around Fathi may bring smiles at Napsa. Something looks to be going well so far and only positive results could add up a better scenario at Napsa.
They will do well.
Now, this is one prediction that may well come back to bite me given the exciting football played by Nkwazi side in the vibrant atmosphere of the Transitional Season. They almost made it to continental football until they cracked three games to the end. The Police outfit again will be a colourful addition to the Zambia Super League.
Will they survive and come close to continental football again?
So much will depend on whether this team will improve going forward, they need at least two players who can score at least 10 goals each.
If they can’t, then I shall order a large helping of humble pie in advance.
It was the usual mix of top-class victories and heavy defeats that summed up Lumwana Radiants in the Transitional Season and I do not see anything different this time.
Keeping Chewe Mulenga is crucial, as am sure that he has now known these players with few additions that the club has brought in. I want to believe that keeping Allan Kapila, Captain for the club is a real vote of confidence in the lad’s future and again the team will play around him. The hope will be most of these players have now learnt the trade of Super League.
A number of new faces seen training with the club will add stature but the goalkeeping department looks a weakness. A late move there – perhaps – would give more solidity. I feel the team conceded a number of goals they could have avoided last season.
Another fight in the relegation zone is imminent and look out for that North Western derby against Kansanshi Dynamos.
Very difficult to tell. Saw the team against Green Buffaloes in a friendly and you tend to think it will be a long season.
Didn’t watch the game against Nkana and the result though will tell you they will surprise a lot. So the preparation is telling us different dimensions which can only be confirmed when the season kicks off.
They have spent more than enough in losing their identity and their Super League status because they can no longer rely on local talent but go out and source for the experience. This is the Super League.
But they knew what they were getting into, it is ambitious and contains risk but Coach Israel Mwanza has also signed players he knows in the likes of Timothy Sakala, Enoch Tembo, Walford Sikanyika and the likes of Vanecious Mapande who have been around in the Super League for a long time.
Plenty of eyes will be on the likes of Royd Alufunso and Mutale, to see how they fast adapt in the Super League – but Dynamos have also believed to have secured one of the best deals of the transfer window in signing an enterprising Rodgers Lukonde, from Gomes FC because that will be a massive move as the boy who was actually their player will be a good move for the team.
Lukonde has quality in him and I believe can make a big impact on the team.
For me, this will be a season of consolidation in prospect at one of the hopefuls to remain in the Super League at the end of the season.
Zeddy Sailet has done a superb job keeping Nakambala Leopards in the Super League, especially last season when he kept his nerve after a horrible spell up in the first round of the season. A smart manager who knows how it works and how to get the best out of his squad, he will keep Nakambala Leopards up again if the team has brought in players who are able to get them goals.
Otherwise, that’s one area Nakambala struggle. If they have not done that, then the relegation struggles continue.
It’s a big season ahead for Zeddy Sailet but I predict survival for the Sugar boys.
Thanks all for reading and next will come up with my 18 predictions on how the teams will be at the end of the season.
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