By Washikunzi Malanga

People who understands football will agree with me that Zesco this time around has decided to go with the mixture of both the future and experience and to me this is a very balanced Zesco side and the best assembled in years.

Forgot the misgivings of some of Zambian’s renowned soccer pundits and let’s look at what Zesco has come up with. They just seem to do the right things at the right time. The squad released for 2018 CAF Champions league is a well-constructed team with a lot of promise and I think it will deliver. Let’s educate the “doubting Thomases” about the current released team.

CONCERNS ABOUT COACH TC

Thumbs up to Zesco United fc management for giving TC an opportunity to lead Zesco. Many may doubt his credentials but the guy has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he can deliver. To me this was a wise decision because TC understands the players and he knows how to spot talent and bring out the best in them. Numba will have competition for the Coach of the year award!

THE TEAM AND REINFORCEMENTS

Zesco United as it were at the end of the season was a strong team and didn’t need an overhaul of the team to cope with the demands of CAF Champions league and the league. Iam glad the technical team made well calculated and effective signings. Believe me this Zesco side is well balanced and if they find their rethym the friendly city will see sexy football. There was no need to go for marquee signings in the name of “foreign pros” whose input on any given day cannot surpass the good talent Zambia has.

GOAL KEEPING DEPARTMENT

Past weakness & Peoples concerns:

Lack of a reliable goal keeper to challenge JB who usually makes silly mistakes coupled with indecision in his moves.
JB is still good but he needs to work on his concentration levels otherwise Dieodine Ntibahezwa need to take over now and the former Under 20 second choice goal keeper will need be to be exposed.

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CENTRAL DEFENSE

Observed weaknesses, strengths & people’s concerns

Who will partner David Odhiambo.

In Central defense Zesco has the ever reliable David “Calabar” Owino. However the concern has been who should partner him. Iam glad Zesco decided to release Ben Bah, to me he was the weak link. I look forward for Marcel Kalonda partnering Owino.

All of a sudden some pundits are writing of the rock. Just because Marcel had a shaky start to his Zesco career doesn’t make him a bad player. I know his abilities and the advantage he brings to the Zesco defense. This a strong, fearless hard tackling & no nonsense defender who is very good in the air. He will definitely come good now that he is seeing a lot of game time as he regains his confidence. His weaknesses will be cemented by Owino.

There is also Sodier and Solomon Sakala who are both flexible. Solomon is a born leader while Soldier is a rock.
The CD is ok now…..

LEFT BACK

Observed weaknesses, strengths & people’s concerns

Peoples concern is that Kapumbu gets exposed sometimes.

What people need to understand is that Zambian International player Kapumbu is a special player. He does more than a defender should be doing. He is very good going forward and provides a lot of assists both in open play and attack. He plays like Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso.

Zesco United will need to learn to cover up for him. He will be deputized by Silengo who is good both at defending and going forward. Would like to see more of him.

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Solomon Sakala who is a born leader can also play at left back as he used to at Warriors.

RIGHT BACK

Observed weaknesses, strengths & people’s concerns

Simon gets exposed sometimes due to his poor positioning considering that this is not his natural position and that he is prune to injuries.

What people needs to know is that times have changed worldwide and teams are converting infield players to back position e.g. Valencia at Man, Depth at Man City. A RB need to be more than a defender and Simon has coped very well. He keeps improving.

Simon no doubt is strong technically and he reads the game very well. He is a modern right back! I think he is getting better with time. No wonder is the preferred right back at National team.

The right back position has very good options in Shemmy, Dauti and also Solomon can fit in this position.

HOLDING MIDFIELD

Zesco has the best holding midfielders in Zambia. Internationals Kodwani Mtonga, Misheck Chaila, Kenyan International Anthony Akumu and now the flexible, workaholic and scoring Edward Tembo who is also attack minded. The composition has been strengthened with youthful blood. Good choice Zega.

Attacking & Creative Midfielders

Observed weaknesses, strengths & people’s concerns

This was the weakest link in the Zesco system last season following the departure of Triple C. Pundits feel Zesco needed experience players in this area.

I would rather go with fresh blood in proven young stars who wants to impress. This area has become more interesting better than the previous years. With TC seemingly understanding the need to have special players, Zesco has added youthful and exciting midfielders in Enock El Cocho, Lameck Banda, Logic Chingandu- also set piece specialist (all of whom are effective wingers), also in the mix is the workaholic Edward Tembo who will brend with the experience of John Chingandu and Mwape Mwelwa.

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This midfield will be exciting to watch forget the big WEST AFRICA names these lads are something special.

FORWARDS

Observed weaknesses, strengths & people’s concerns

Last season Zesco lacked a holding no. 9 following the sale of Mbombo. People are saying Kalengo may not be the same. I don’t agree.

Yes the departure of Mbombo definitely weakened Zesco as he formed good chemistry with Jesse Jackson Were who is a tapins master. Jesse needed a partner who can hold the ball and release him. He is not a selfish player and provides a lot of assists. Mbombo despite been good was too wasteful.

Now with the return of Winston Kalengo, Zesco will have the needed strength at no. 9. Kalengo and Jesse will really make Zesco so deadly and people need to realise this.

Kalengo is very disciplined that’s why he has stayed for such a long time in the game and will keep getting better with age. You can be sure he will add value because he understands his mission. Look out for Kalengo.

This combination plus the deadly TIGER (ZIKIRU ADAMS) whose record speaks for itself scoring 13 goals in 14 matches is something that will take Zesco to another level. This striking force looks deadly. The TIGER NEEDS TO BE played at number 10.

TC will do well to make a front three comprising of TIGER, Kalengo and Were. Tiger’s goal conversion rate is by FAR the best in ZAMBIA. And then you add the most improved player LAZ KAMBOLE ZESCO looks good and I know they are much better than the previous years.

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