‘Lucky Number 13’

Kalampa O Yea-Aba Red grab incomplete 2019/20 title

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FRANKLYN MALAMBO writes

SELA munshila ba Nkana ba piteko loosely translated as ‘move, create way for Nkana to pass’ has been a common chorus among their supporters in the season just ended. 

The chorus itself demands and suggests respect as well as authority for the now 13 time Zambian champions.

Frankly, both respect and authority are well earned and deserved. 

The number 13 is symbolic in many cultures. For the Greek and, Zeus the thirteenth god is counted as the most powerful in their records. For Gamblers, number thirteen is considered a lucky number. 

A symbol of power or a lucky number, thirteenth will standout at least until history books are rewritten. 

Before going on about Kalampa, congratulations are in order to both Forest Rangers and NAPSA stars for making it into the CAF competitions and to Green Eagles for ensuring their dinning with big boys at the top continues. 

Champions Nkana may not have been at their best in ascending to the podium in the season cut short by Covid-19 but numbers don’t lie and theirs have proven the best after 27 round of fixtures. 

While they can be teased as having won an ‘incomplete’ league especially by the yellow side of Kitwe, they will care less. In fact, in their bunter they can on good authority say, they are back!

The sea of red on the streets of Kitwe over the weekend and the one before for the ‘false coronation’ showed how much they had looked forward to getting back on their perch. The seven year league dry spell should have felt like an eternity. 

Like many a triumph, it has not been an all rosy road as the club during the campaign was bruised both on and off the pitch. Fights with the various fan associations were not distant either. After all the battles, the war has been won and champagne can be popped. 

In a season where they struggled for consistency, they needed both luck and grit to get over the line. Home comforts proved vital as Nkana stadium was a mini fortress over thirteen matches played there having harvested all available points in nine of them.

Statement wins were recorded at home against fellow big contenders like ZescoUnited and Zanaco in a show of how good they could be on certain days. They got a walkover win over Nakambala Leopards which all but confirmed their title, their home patch suggested they would have got passed them whichever way possible.

Conversely, they were a few results that indicated their need to strengthen their grip going forward and not be complacent if they have to sustain their stay at the top. Among them would be the home losses to then struggling and now relegated Mufulira Wanderers in August 2019 and to Forest early this year.

Such results coupled with shadowy performances away from home is what needs attention. 

Additionally, improvements can always be made from a decision making stand point. Apart from the change of Chairman in the middle of the season, an issue that posed a threat of derailing the campaign was that over the technical bench around September to October 2019. 

In-house some seemed sided with then head coach Bestone Chambeshi while others with his number two, Manfred Chabinga. 

It’s around the same period that the club went on a four game winless run, a run that should be avoided in top competitions and one that could have been rued has the league run the entire stretch. 

Well, some of their methods have been unorthodox but this time good enough yet they should count themselves lucky that despite a season of some entanglements, they still secured the ultimate.

The title means a return to Champions league football which they missed last season and will demand huge efforts from everyone involved to go one better this time and make a sustained stay at the top domestically.

In the middle of all this, the celebrations will certainly go on at least for the immediate foreseeable future.

Life is a series of moments and the good ones must be treasured. This is one such moment for Kalampa and everyone associated with the club and so they must milk it for all its worth. 

Once more, CONGRATULATIONS on the much awaited 13th.

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