MUKWIMA CHILALA writes
“LET Government take over the running of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) because the current investors have neglected the sponsorship of Nchanga Rangers Football Club,” says the side’s supporters’ society.
Club Supporters Trust chairman Jonah Mphande said the team had found themselves playing in lower division football because of lack of sponsorship from the owners of KCM, Vedanta Resources.
Mphande said from the time Vedanta took over the running of the mines, performance of all the teams which were being sponsored by the mining giant had gone down.
He said all the four teams under KCM namely Nampundwe Football Club, Nchanga Rangers and Konkola Blades had all been relegated as a result of lack of sponsorship.
“We are playing zone football right now because of unseriousness of KCM towards supporting of sport. Look at where Nchanga Rangers is, Konkola Blades and Nampundwe; they are all playing into the lower division, which falls on the sponsors , meaning they are not doing much to help the teams,” Mphande said.
“Let Government take over running of the mines because if you remember way back when ZCCM used to run the mines, it wasn’t like this. Teams which used to be sponsored by miners were doing well, but from the time KCM came on board these teams have been doing poorly,” he said.
Mphande said some Chingola residents almost staged a protest against KCM on Monday but police cancelled their permit at the last minute.
Nchanga Rangers are racing against time to qualify to the inaugural first division of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) National First Division following a string of poor results in Division One, Zone Two.
Rangers have recorded a mixture of results in the highly competitive league with 10 wins, six draws and seven losses in a zone which has league pioneers such as Konkola Blades, one time Super League champions Roan United and Kalulushi Modern Stars.
The Chingola-based team are in position number six after 23 games played with seven more to play and now has to win all its games if they are to catch and finish in the top four which is a threshold for qualifying to the National First Division.
A return to the Super League is out of site for the team that was relegated at the end of the 2018 season as the only hope now is a top four.
Nchanga Rangers are two-time Zambian league champions having won it in 1980 as well as their famous 1998 league title with a fairly highly rated squad at the time.
The club last got relegated in 2008 following board room decisions by the FAZ, which saw the club for Division One football once before making a return to the following season.