It was a clash that had history written all over it whichever way it was going to go. Zesco United stood to add to their growing accolades with the eighth title looming while Green Eagles had their eyes on the first ever crown. So by the time referee Evans Mulenga called proceedings to order at 15:00 hours at the packed-to-capacity Woodlands Stadium the stage was set for a historic encounter. It was also to be the crowning moment for the transitional league that has seen all the possible bottlenecks swept aside to deliver a memorable season.
The atmosphere was given a somewhat sullen touch by the death of former KK11 long serving captain Dickson Makwaza, known in his heyday as barbed wire.
A moment of silence was duly accorded to the late Makwaza who captained Zambia to the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations silver medal.
Ministry of Sports Deputy Director Gibson Muyaule joined proceedings alongside FAZ president Andrew Kamanga in leading the chants in the stands.
On the field of play the match lived up to the pre-match hype with the Choma side giving Zesco United a tough run. Post-match discourse has lingered on what could have been, had the controversially ruled offside goal scored by Kennedy Musonda for Green Eagles stood. However, despite the controversy around the disallowed goal, few can deny Zesco’s credentials as victors.
Zesco United showed experience with the calmness with which they dispatched their spot-kicks.
Eagles may have been undone by inexperience but will certainly be proud to have continued their match to the top of the Zambian game. They have definitely been pushing (Tonka) for quite some time.
An agitated Gift Wamundila was the first to step to take his spot-kick and sent it sideways putting Eagles at a disadvantage. Zesco United’s Mwila Phiri made the stuff look so easy with beautifully struck penalty while Green Eagle’s Samson Chilupe faltered from the spot dimming the Eagles dream of their first ever title.
Marcel Kalonda’s miss in Zesco colours restored some hope for Green Eagles but Tapson Kaseba’s tame shot thinned the Choma side’s chances.
Zesco United’s Clement Mwape had no problem dispatching his kick while Ray Mutale also hit the target for Eagles.
Skipper Jacob Banda befittingly took the winning kick for Zesco United and with it added the eighth crown.
Once Banda tucked his penalty it was celebration time for Lwandamina and company with another piece of history from an individual perspective with Jacob Banda winning his eight title while his teammate Winstone Kalengo had his ninth crown in the Zambian Super League. While Kalengo won five of his nine crowns in Zanaco colours, Banda had all eight titles in Zesco United colours.
From an administrative standpoint the transitional season had proved a success given the measure of resistance from some quarters.
The Zambian case has been cited as a success story from the CAF house given how seamless the country has aligned its league to the global calendar.
Zambia will now have its season starting in August and ending in June.
In the transitional season FAZ divided the teams in two streams with the winners of each stream playing each other in the grand finale.
Zanaco and Buildcon tussled for third and fourth with the latter walking away winners via a 3-1 over the bankers.
Eleuter Mpepo netted a hat-trick while Chitiya Mususu scored the consolation goal for the bankers.
Whatever the misgivings about the transitional league that some critics may have had, it is quite clear that as the final spot-kick was being tucked away to declare the winner, few could not help but give credit to the minds behind the change.
We look forward to an even better 2019/2020 season!
(Source: FAZ Media)