ZESCO United has more to lose in today’s Transitional Super League coronation play-off against Green Eagles, says George Lwandamina.
And Green Eagles assistant coach Alex Namazaba says Eagles are not afraid of the defending champions and that his team has history to make today.
Speaking in a pre-match press briefing, Lwandamina fondly known as Chicken by soccer lovers fired warning shots at Eagles, saying Zesco has been ready for the encounter.
Lwandamina was however hesitant to underrate his opponents.
“I am sure it will be an interesting game; Green Eagles want to be champions and Zesco would like to reclaim the title and hopefully win three in a row. But I can’t decide in this conference room, it will be decided on the pitch,” Lwamdamina said.
“We have been in this business for quite some time. Psychologically, any situation creates its own anxieties, we are no exception as a football family to go through the same. It’s the reaction of the body which makes one to be strong or to be weak.”
Lwandamina said Zesco had “more to fight [for] in this game compared to Green Eagles”.
“They (Eagles) want to make history, that is why I said it will be an interesting game. They are ready, we have been ready, we just hope it will be handled in a professional way so that people will be able to get something out of this game,” Lwandamina said.
He ruled out the experience working to his advantage charging that every game had own occurrences.
“Experience does not matter in football, it is a game of situations. New situations, even old situations will arise in the same game so it is unpredictable. It’s how best you create chances and hopefully put them away and how best you defend because it is a one off, there is no return match,” he said.
When asked on his thoughts about the Zesco supporters who at one point called for his resignation after his team recorded some unfavourable results, he said he will concentrate on his job.
“I’m an employee of Zesco limited and I work for Zesco, yes, we need soccer fans…we have respect for supporters and their words or whatever demands they put across but we are not employed by them. If supporters fire me, I will find another job in Malawi now,” said Lwandamina.
“And these same people, as much as they want their teams to win, they don’t know what is cooked at the background, all they know is the team should win today but how much have you put in to make sure that the team wins? If we are not strong, everyday clubs will be firing coaches. …we will never please them, we just have to do our job, period.”
And side captain, Jacob Banda said: “We will do our best and God will do the rest.”
Meanwhile, Namazaba sitting next to Lwandamina in the pre-match conference said their chance to lift the trophy had finally come and ruled out pressure.
“The feeling is we are ready, we have prepared very well for this game, we are looking forward so that we can win our first league title in history. We have never won the league and this is our chance,” he said.
“Pressure is always there but it is all about how you control it. Pressure is not that much because the players are looking forward to this game and they are ready to fight on the pitch.
He added that his boys “are aware that we are playing Zesco, and they have been doing very well in Zambian football and we respect them very much but we are not scared because the game has to be played on the field of play, its 11 against 11 [players].”
And Caesar Hakaluba, skipper of the Zambia National Service sponsored side, said Eagles wanted the title more.
“It’s us who want it more than Zesco because we want to make history. We know what we are capable of doing,” said Hakaluba.
Eagles qualified for the Play-off after out-performing other teams in Stream B and coming out tops while Zesco out smarted their contenders in group A but with less points compared to Eagles.
Winner of todays game, which kicks off at 15:00 hours at Woodlands Stadium will become league champion and losers will be runner ups.
The winner of the game between Zanaco and Buildcon which kicks off at 13:00 hours at the same venue will be slotted third and losers will assume fourth spot on the log.