THE CASE OF THE BARCLAYS SEMI FINAL AND ONE ZSL SUPER LEAGUE
Who goes to the Final?
2017 Barclays Cup Semi-Finals will be held at Nkoloma Stadium this weekend and we are set for two fascinating games away from the super league.
The title race is far from over and until this weekend, no team could stand toll and be confident that they have it in their closet.
We shall take time out from that to do battle in an FA Cup Semi-Final before Zanaco and Zesco attempt to qualify for another final.
I have closely analyzed both games and it is not as easy as you may be thinking! This will be one of the best semifinals in years.
Zesco United Vs Napsa Stars
This is a fascinating tie between two teams that are now only separated by five points in the race for the Zambia Super League title but Zesco have a number of games in hand that they have to sort out which could set a very big gap with their opponents in this semifinal tie..
They split their two meetings in the Super League this season – with both sides winning at home – and the win of Napsa Stars in the first round in the league was the first win in 12 Super League games against Zesco United.
But there is a 2012 Barclays Cup Semifinals that Napsa Stars will look back for inspiration having had knocked out Zesco United in the semifinals of that year. Harry Milanzi with the goal and the game ended 1-0. Napsa would then go on to win their first Barclay’s Cup crown.
Zesco may be favorite in this tie but Napsa have already shown pedigree by knocking out Green Buffaloes at this very stadium that they welcome Zesco United. There is some resistance that is being developed in this Napsa team after that torrid run of bad results in the season.
Yes Zesco are favorite, but the issue for them could be Nkoloma Stadium and playing Napsa, who last beat them on their visit in Lusaka.
Without a doubt Zesco has struggled this season and their passage to this stage against Kitwe United was not an easy road, this is a more serious test and there may be something of a mental hoodoo heading into this clash.
There really is very little between these two sides coming to this game and it may take longer than 90 minutes to separate them, with the draw looking like genuine value at the current form of the two teams.
But player for player, Zesco United look good and should they tick, then it’s a 90 minuted game. They are the record holders of the Barclays Cup which they won last season and I don’t think they would want to give up at this stage.
It’s just the Barclays Cup but very vital for Zlat. I think he will make it to his first final of the Barclays Cup and his second final as Zesco United coach.
Prediction: Zesco United 2-1 Napsa Stars
Lusaka Dynamos Vs Zanaco
It has been a couple of mixed results for Lusaka Dynamos and it is no real surprise that Zanaco will go into this clash as clear favorites. Actually what helps Lusaka Dynamos in the league is the none performance of other teams and am sure even Patrick Phiri is shocked that they are just third on the log in the league considering the bad results they have had in the last two months.
We have one quarter final meeting in the Barclays Cup between these two sides and that game came up in 2008. Lusaka Dynamos knocked out Zanaco that year with a 2-1 victory with goals from Josephat Nkhoma and Hichani Himonde, the consolation of Zanaco was scored by Bernard Bwalya. Lusaka Dynamos progressed to the semifinals that season and were knocked out by Zesco United.
Barclays Cup is one tormenting tournament for Zanaco; they don’t have challenges qualifying and participating in it but have serious challenges in winning it. They have never won it and they have only played in one final that they lost to Zesco United in 2016.
They have another stern test as they walk on the pitch against Lusaka Dynamos, the team they had enjoyed playing against in the super league before the 2017 season.
In the last 15 games in the super league between these two sides, Zanaco has won 10 times, drew 3 times and lost twice. But this is a different Lusaka Dynamos and already in the 2017 season, the two teams drew 0-0 and they are yet to face off their return encounter.
Zanaco have struggled badly for consistency throughout this season and the scary thing for their fans is the fact that they have not been dominant as underdogs this season when facing the traditional heavy weights and Lusaka Dynamos is now one of those heavy weights. But they will have the good spirits of remembering the 3-2 victory against Zesco United and the 2-1 win against Power Dynamos at home.
This is another game where goals will represents serious value as we expect goals and Numba Mumamba is an attacking coach, that’s the same play of this Lusaka Dynamos team that forgets defending in most of the games. This game is ending in regulation time and one winner will match into the final.
I just have the thought that Lusaka Dynamos will be that team that will match on and the Barclays title will continue eluding this Zanaco side which has never wanted to promote another Bank by winning the Barclays Cup title.
Prediction: Lusaka Dynamos 2-0 Zanaco
Zambia Super League, Week 30 Rescheduled Encounter
Konkola Blades Vs Buildcon
There is one case of relegation battle that will be taking place on Saturday in Chililabombwe as Konkola Blades welcomes Buildcon to Konkola Stadium. This is a big one as Buildcon is still chasing a top four finish while Konkola Blades are fighting relegation.
Here is motivation for both teams:
Will join Nkana and Zesco United on 49 points though reality seems to show that they will not leapfrog the two teams due to inferior goal difference should they win this encounter. But a 6-0 win will take them 5th above the two teams.
They will get out of relegation with a victory at home pushing Mufulira Wanderers into the relegation zone and actually going above Kabwe Warriors. Unfortunately they have only won one game in the last six games with two draws and three losses in the process.
Buildcon on the other hand ate booming with confidence and they are the best form team in the last six games getting 15 points out of the possible 18, though at par with Green Buffaloes, they have a better goal tally than Green Buffaloes on the form table in the last six games.
That’s not good news for Konkola Blades.
Blades will be relegated at the end of the season, but these are the games they need to show that they were ready for the season. Unfortunately, the visitor means business.
Prediction: Konkola Blades 0-1 Buildcon