Friday, June 14, 2024

We have bounced back to challenge for the title – Luka Banda

NAPSA Captain Luka Banda says the team has bounced back into the MTN-FAZ super League to challenge for the title.

Banda said this on Friday evening at the Napsa victory Cocktail at Hilton Garden Inn Hotel after being crowned the player of the season for having led the team to their historic ABSA Cup victory by being the only National Division one club to win the competition.

The Defender was also instrumental in winning promotion back to the Super League after spending a season in the Eden University National Division League.

“Thanks to management for the continued support. I had the responsibility to lead a team that compromises of senior players but they still listened to me. We back in the League to win it,” Banda said.

He said the team needed to continue working hard and be consistent as they bounce back to the Elite League.

” We don’t wish to ever go back to Division one. We learnt our lessons. We belong to the Super League. The problem is we concentrated on the CAF competition and it costed us,” Banda said.

Goal keeper Rodwell Mukwanya who the team signed last season was awarded the young player of the season.

Mukwanya was very instrumental in the 2021-2021 campaign saving crucial penalties in the ABSA competition.

The enterprising young player also caught the attention of the Acting Napsa Director General and also walked away with the Director General award.

Striker Musonda Kapembwa finished top scorer for the club with seven goals.

The Most discipline player award went to David Owino Odhiambo and the most consistent player award went to Gift Zulu.

All the award winners were worth K5, 000 with Mukwanya pocketing k10, 000 for the two awards.

And Guest of honor Minister of Labour and social security Brenda Tambatamba congratulated Napsa for winning the ABSA Cup after a decade and earning promotion to the Super League.

Tambatamba told the team that they had earned a supporter in the Republican President Hakainde Hichilema who witnessed the ABSA finals against Red Arrows at Nkoloma stadium and they should not disappoint him.

“Congratulations to the team from the bottom of my heart. What you did was commendable. The Super League is where you belong,” Tambatamba said.

She said football was a unifying sport and encouraged the cooperate world to emulate Napsa for sponsoring a football team.

” I wish to echo the presidents’ remarks at the Absa cup final 2022 that sport not only ensures physical wellbeing, but it also helps both the young and the old to build teamwork, respect, self-belief, passion, determination and social inclusion. these characteristics are key in building a nation that has a thriving and cohesive society. It is quite encouraging to see the value that we as a country are placing on sports, resulting in high levels of professionalism in the various sporting disciplines, “She said.

She added that she strongly believed that if stakeholders worked together as partners, both from the private and public sector, as demonstrated by NAPSA and Stanbic bank with support from partners like Absa bank Zambia plc, and FAZ, Sport could improve at both club and national levels.

” This will ultimately allow us as a country to participate in major international competitions, thus putting the country on the world map.

My Ministry and I are committed to supporting the Ministry of Sports working together with all the stakeholders to enhance the development of sport in the country, ”she said.

And Acting Director General Ronnie Kamanya congratulated the team for its achievements this season.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of various stakeholders. I would like to thank the government through the ministry of labour and social security for allowing us to participate in the development of sport in the country through the provision of financial, material and moral support towards various sporting disciplines. we are especially grateful that the support begins at the very top as shown by the president’s presence at the 2022 ABSAcup final, “Kamanya said.

He commended ABSA for their continued sponsorship for prestigious and only Cup competition in the country.

” The Cup has been in Zambia for over a decade now and this speaks to your dedication and commitment to the sport and the Zambian youths who are directly benefiting from your support. we would like to urge you to continue with the same or even more vigor because your support is changing lives to the better and giving the youths a platform to showcase their skills and earn a living,”Kamanya said.

He commended the Napsa Stars board for providing leadership to the team and bouncing back to the Super League in one season.

” I want to say thank you for providing sound governance that has ensured the team operates with integrity and efficiency. the result of this is what we are celebrating today. The management, technical team and the players, you have demonstrated resilience and consistency that is admirable to all here witnessing your victory in the 2022 ABSA cup competition and promotion back to the top league after being relegated a season ago,” he said.

He said the team had shown discipline, dedication and consistency on the pitch and that the results were evident on the pitch.

” I wish to call upon the players, technical team and administration to put in your best to ensure that the team continues on its successful journey. let us see more goals and greater performance on the pitch to secure more trophies. our desire is to have the team participate consistently in CAF competitions,” he said.

(By Sandra Mwila| Times of Zambia )

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