Mixed fortunes for ex-PSL men in Zambia

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It was mixed fortunes for former Premier Soccer League (PSL) men in the Zambia Super League this weekend.

Ex-Baroka coach Wedson Nyirenda lost his first game back in the Zambian topflight on Saturday when Zanaco went down 3-2 away to arch-rivals Zesco United on Saturday in Ndola.

Nyirenda, who spent the last year on a coaching stint in Mozambique, was hired by struggling Zanaco last week until the end of this season to replace Nigerian legend Emmanuel Amunike who failed to make an impact since his appointment last September.

And Nyirenda saw just what lay ahead of his interim six matches in charge to save Zanaco when they trailed two-nil as early as the 12th minute when Zesco took the lead through Collins Sikombe and Enock Sakala in the 9th and 12th minutes, respectively.


It also didn’t help that Zanaco suffered a setback before the floodgates opened when they lost ex-Polokwane City midfielder Salulani Phiri in the 8th minute due to injury.

Zanaco crawled back in the 17th minute through Moussa Souleymanou, but Sakala ensured Zesco went three-one into the break when he completed his brace in the 32nd minute.

Nyirenda’s side then cut the deficit from a penalty in the 52nd minute converted by defender Mwila Phiri, and that’s how it ended, but not before some stoppage time drama with Zanaco midfielder Wilson Chisala’s header was palmed out by Zesco goalkeeper Ian Otieno.

The PSL flavour did not end there in a match ex-Kaizer Chiefs striker Lazarus Kambole had a rough day for Zesco police by Pire.

Kambole’s best effort came in the 68th minute when Zanaco goalkeeper Charles Lawu saved.

Nkwazi FC team.


“A very good game we played, the boys played with their lungs out, but we just gave away three silly goals that Zesco did not work for. We scored two goals that we genuinely worked for,”   Nyirenda said.

After joining them as a free agent in January, the match also saw ex-Stellenbosch FC midfielder Nathan Sinkala finally make his Zesco debut. Like Kambole, he dug in and toiled for  90 minutes to ensure the home win.

Saturday’s duel is a significant date in the Zambian football calendar.

It pits nine-time league champions Zesco and seven-time winners Zanaco who have both monopolised the Zambian league over the last twenty years in which they have collected all their league titles.

But both are currently struggling, with 5th placed Zesco spending most of this term in mid-table. At the same time, Zanaco is in a precious situation and in danger of going down for the first time in their history after dropping three places into the top four of the relegation zone.

READ:Contrasting fortunes for Orlando Pirates forwards


In Saturday’s action, Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga scored in their respective sides’ wins.

Shonga’s input was vital because it not only enhanced Nkwazi’s hopes of survival in a 2-1 victory over 7th-placed Forest Rangers but also scored a brace that pushed him closer to double-digits with five games left to play.

Nkwazi exchanged places with Zanaco and now sits on the relegation trap door.

The ex-Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City striker struck in the 26th and 54th minutes to take his tally to 9 goals this season and six behind tip scorer Andy Boyeli of leaders Power Dynamos.

Conversely, Mulenga scored Napsa Stars’ third goal in the 47th minute of a   4-1 Lusaka derby rout of Green Buffaloes.

Promoted Napsa are a lofty second from number five under ex-Pirates midfielder Perry Mutapa who led them back to promotion this season after one term in the second tier.

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