This has been a year of uncertainties for many local football followers especially after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the premature conclusion of the 2019/2020 FAZ/MTN football season.
Yesterday, social media went wild when the 2020/2021 FAZ/MTN Super League fixtures were surprisingly leaked to the public before the Association could formally announce the start of the new campaign.
An hour later, the FAZ confirmed the start of the new season in a press statement:” Following the approval of fixtures by the Executive Committee of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) the Zambian Premier League will kick-off October 31 weekend.
“We are very happy to announce the fixtures of the 2020/2021 season for the Zambia Premier League. The fixtures have been approved by the Executive Committee clearing the way for the league to kick-off,” FAZ General Secretary Adrian Kashala said.
Eight-times Super League champions ZESCO United have been drawn against the country’s envoy in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Confederation Cup, Napsa Stars in their opening week 1 fixture to be played in Lusaka on Saturday.
ZESCO United players are expected to be highly charged when the two teams clash considering the fact that the Ndola based outfit missed out on qualification for CAF and surrendered the 2019/2020 league title to Nkana.
The former champions will further be looking to undo last year’s painful 2-1 away defeat to Napsa in a week 22 fixture played in Lusaka.
Newly appointed ZESCO United coach, Numba Mumamba is aware of the threat that Napsa poses especially with their recent qualification for CAF Confederation Cup and the club’s recent acquisitions during the transfer window.
“Napsa Stars have showed that they are a good side in the last two seasons. This can be seen through their qualification for CAF competitions meaning that they will be one of Mother Zambia’s representative at the highest level of the African game.
As we go to Napsa we need to be aware that this is a different team from what we were used to in the past. They are a now another powerhouse in the country.”
Mumamba is however unperturbed by the threat that Napsa Stars could potentially cause when the two sides meet.
“We have enough ammunition in this team that can help get the desired results. What we need is to prepare the team and psych them properly for us to comeback with a positive result.”
When reminded of last year’s 2-1 defeat Mumamba responded: “This is a time to start afresh and not look at what happened in the past. You can lose a game but we expect ourselves to come back stronger. We are going there as a wounded team.”
This weekend, Mumamba leads ZESCO United in his first test match after being appointed head coach of the club knowing too well that a positive result will calm a lot of nerves especially after the team’s failure to defend the league title and missing out CAF.
The gaffer has had a good preseason with the old and newly acquired players. Mumamba will further be encouraged by the performances of some of his star players at National team level.
Both Bruce Musakanya and Kelvin Kampamba have been a marvel to watch in national colours. Despite not spending enough time with them since his appointment, Mumamba is not worried about their output and impact in the team.
“I don’t think it will have any effect on us. These are senior players who have matured in the game and it is easy for them to adjust to what we want. We won’t have any problems because we know the type of players they are.”