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Relegation Battle in the Zambia Super League

Relegation Battle in the Zambia Super League

RELEGATION BATTLE

Zambia Super League relegation battle assessed:

Who is going down?

Almost half the Super League still embroiled in a dogfight; only one point separate Buildcon in 15th and Lumwana Radiants in 12th

Who will go down from the Super League?

The race for the Super League title may have its own story as more than six teams look to be fighting for that ultimate , but at the other end of the table, things are far from settled as well and actually more closer than many seasons that have gone by.

With 11 games to go, no one in the bottom half of the Premier League can truly say they are out of trouble – with 12th-placed Lumwana Radiants still only one point above the drop, and 15 ahead of bottom side Mufulira Wanderers.

Further down the table, three teams are separated by just five points and even Maite at the bottom still have the chance – But with a loss against Lusaka Dynamos at home, lts only strong people of Faith that will believe they can survive.

With rock-bottom Mufulira Wanderers still not totally out of contention on 11 points, could we be heading for the most dramatic, unpredictable relegation battle in the Super League history?

I assess the endangered clubs, the key fixtures, and what might seal their fate…

LUMWANA RADIANTS (26 points from 22 games)

Why could they go down? Although it seems unlikely, Lumwana Radiants’ woeful season has left them level on points with two sides concerned about the drop – so they cannot be overlooked completely.

Add in the fact they score as many goals as they concede this season, and their form to date looks even less impressive.

Of the teams below them, only Nkwazi have conceded fewer goals, but they are not exactly firing on all cylinders going forwards – and have found the back of the net slightly better than the rest battlers but Buildcon has scored more in that relegation fight.

What could decide their fate?

Little more than Patrick Phiri most likely. The veteran head coach has already overseen an improvement on the pitch but a succession of draws – two in a row in fact – have hindered their rise up the table and remember there is one loss in between the wins in the last six.

Ultimately, barring one of the most shocking collapses of a major side in Super League history, Lumwana Radiants will be safe – but given the points tally they have amassed to date, they are not out of the woods yet.

Lumwana Radiants’ next five games
KYSA Vs Lumwana Radiants
Forest Rangers Vs Lumwana Radiants
Lumwana Radiants Vs Kabwe Warriors
ZANACO Vs Lumwana Radiants
Lumwana Vs Nakambala Leopards

We may have a clear story after these five games for Radiants.


  • NKWAZI (26 points from 21 games)

Nkwazi need more output from Emmanuel Chabula after his breakthrough season and so much promise especially after scoring a couple of goals for the national team.

Why could they go down?

A run that saw them not score a goal in close to 11 games but a run of four wins and two draws from their last six games has lifted the Policemen away from the relegation zone, but Dennis’ side have shown a streaky nature this season which they will hope does not turn south again before the end of the campaign.

Prior to their seven-game unbeaten run, Nkwazi had struggled to score for a good number of games , and were looking perilously close to the drop.

Further back, this is the Policemen’s’ longest unbeaten run for a long time , and only a bright restart – which has lifted them to 13th in these last weeks and keeping them out of danger as things stand.

What could decide their fate?

In the 8 games where Nkwazi have picked up points this season, they have kept clean sheets. Dennis Makinka has always built his sides on solid foundations, and when they have crumbled, as in the early part of the season, they have looked in big trouble.

That defensive stoutness makes their lack of goals – only 16 in 22 games so far – less of a concern, but 11 in their last 11 games is still a worry.

Any injuries to Chomba and Stephen, who have contributed more than a third of their overall goal tally with 10, or defensive regulars may play a big part in their fortunes and survival hopes.

Nkwazi’s next five games
Nkwazi vs Power Dynamos
Nkwazi Vs Green Buffaloes
Mufulira Wanderers Vs Nkwazi
Nkwazi Vs Kansanshi Dynamos
Lusaka Dynamos Vs Nkwazi


KANSANSHI DYNAMOS (25 POINTS FROM 23 GAMES)

Royd Alufunso has scored just five goals so far this season and that’s their top scorer adding to the three scored by Emmanuel Phiri, two by Wilfred Sikanyika

and of course one each by Isaac,Eric, Nobert, Nasha and Jacob Ngulube only brings the total goals scored by Kansanshi Dynamos to 16 so far this season.

Why could they go down?

Kansanshi Dynamos struggle to score. They have relied on a relatively watertight defence this season, barring a couple of notable indiscretions like their 3-2 hammering at KYSA and a 2-0 loss at ZANACO, but just as it has for the last few games, Dynamos’ backline has played a huge part in their season so far.

Whether that solidity remains is no guarantee and without it, Beston’s side may come up short as they are the joint third-lowest scorers in the Super League this season alongside Nkwazi, and have scored only five goals in their last ten games.

What could decide their fate?

Clean sheets. Failing to add a striker in January who could have a goal each game on average with Festus struggling to find the net regularly, Kansanshi Dynamos are arguably more reliant on a stoic defence than any other team in the relegation picture – and now that Royd, their only fit striker, has found himself fighting to make the starting line up under BC, but he has not disappointed when called upon.

The arrival of Jacob Ngulube, an ABSA CUP winner with Nkana in January , could aid with that hope, but ultimately a lack of goals could easily end up being their downfall, something all the more frustrating for Kansanshi Dynamos fans given their lack of forward investment in the window. Should they improve on goals there is hope but should the goals continue to dry, you worry for the Solwezi outfit.

Kansanshi Dynamos’ next five games
Lusaka Dynamos Vs Kansanshi Dynamos
ZESCO United Vs Kansanshi Dynamos
Kansanshi Dynamos Vs Green Eagles
Nkwazi Vs Kansanshi Dynamos
Kansanshi Dynamos Vs KYSA

Look out for the games against Nkwazi and KYSA as thought will have big impact in the relegation zone.


BUILDCON (25 POINTS FROM 23 GAMES)

Buildcon have enjoyed an exceptional goal scoring and they should be asking themselves what they are doing in the bottom four.

Why could they go down?

The second side locked on the same number of points in that fight with Kansanshi Dynamos and only one lower than Lumwana Radiants and Nkwazi, Buildcon are arguably the best-placed of all the sides in the bottom of the table to avoid the drop. They have goals in their team and should they just find a master of keeping clean sheets then they will be safe. Their conceding is worrying .

They have had a worrying run of form over the last six games with only one draw coupled by five losses, from looking in real trouble on the day of their 2-0 away defeat by ZANACO last week , to drop in the red zone for the first time this season

That result was nothing to worry about for BUILDCON as it was more expected but a 0-2 home defeat by Kabwe Warriors, was a more pressing reminder the Kopala team are not out of the woods yet.

What could decide their fate?
Its the sooner their individual play players gell, they look like playing for themselves and not a team.

Momentum will also play a big part – of the side in and among it, Buildcon have negative form on their side but have goals going forward to suggest they can beat the drop, and maybe even end with a season to remember if they can push towards mid table finish with what looked like a disaster season.

It was their performance in the transitional season which kept them up and qualified for CAF last season , but equally, they have shown under the struggle of a none permanent coach they are capable of going on long runs of poor form with little end in sight – so their mentality is to bounce back from defeats will be crucial.

Buildcon’s next five games
Buildcon Vs Nakambala Leopards
Buildcon Vs Power Dynamos
Napsa Stars Vs Buildcon
Buildcon Vs Green Buffaloes
Mufulira Wanderers Vs Buildcon

And their eyes will be among the relegation fighters in Nakambala Leopards at home and Mufulira Wanderers away.


NAKAMBALA LEOPARDS, KYSA and MUFULIRA WANDERERS

These are in the same set with Mufulira Wanderers the more troubled at 11 points with 14 for KYSA and 17 for Nakambala Leopards.

What could decide their fate?

The shortage of goals is a big problem and as expected they are the three lowerst scoring teams in the league and all need to start finding some wins. Only KYSA has a win in their last six games. Their victory against Kabwe Warriors makes them three points to Nakambala Leopards and three from Mufulira Wanderers.

For now all the three teams cannot afford to keep having such a porous defence, their goal difference of negative 19, 30 and 26 tells the whole story of why the three will be relegated.

CAN AN OF THE THREE SURVIVE

You need to be strong in prayer as football doesn’t look like it’s on their side. They will need at least one run of consistency to beat the drop which doesn’t looked feasible.

Let’s face it, The difference from mid-table to the bottom of the league is still fairly routine at this stage, however – But am resolved to believe these three teams are done and they will be playing National Division One.

What we await to see is which one team between Lumwana, Nkwazi, Kansanshi Dynamos and Buildcon will join these three.

Otherwise it’s been an interesting run but sorry to say Mufulira Wanderers, KYSA and Nakambala Leopards are gone!
One more to join them and we shall be done! The next five games will give us that one team that will join the three

My name is Bwezani!!!

Follower of the Zambian game!!!!!

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