NKANA coach Manfred Chabinga says his team is back in the title race after beating defending champions Zesco United 1-0 in a league match on Saturday.
Nkana ended Zesco’s unbeaten run in the league in a high tempo match on a rain-soaked Nkana pitch.
It was a game between two giants and the performances of the two teams lived up to the billing with quality end-to-end football on display.
After 80 minutes of breath-taking stuff, Zesco’s former striker Idris Mbombo once again haunted his former employers with an exquisite free kick awarded by referee Jani Sikazwe after a goal-bound Mbombo was impeded by defender Owino Odhiambo to break the deadlock on 81 minutes.
“We planned for this game. We knew we were playing a big team with good players. They are representing the country in continental football so they have the experience. But we told players to say if we win this game, we will be back in contention for the title and yes we are back in the title race,” Chabinga said.
Chabinga, whose team faces arch rivals Power Dynamos next weekend, reserved praise for goalkeeper Allan Chibwe who was voted man of the match following his heroic performances on the day.
“That’s the Allan we have always wanted to see. He is a good goalkeeper and I am very happy he has come back to his best. But overall credit to the boys, they fought hard.”
And Chabinga’s opposite number George Lwandamina said his team will recover from the defeat.
“They will rise again. They are champions so I am sure they’ll come back from this. This was a game played by two good teams. Both teams played well, we have just lost. But we also had our own chances, we could have even won the match but it was not our day,” said Lwandamina.
Nkana moved back in the top four on the league standings and reduced the gap between them and Zesco to four points.