“Zesco United are playing at home,” comments former Glamour Boy, Albert Bwalya. “It means that they will be pushed to go forward by their home crowd.” His advice, “Keep it tight for the first 20 minutes.”
The former Zambian striker had two stints at Amakhosi, which he joined in 1988. He moved to Wits University halfway 1989, before returning to the club in 1992 for two seasons.
Bwalya was a great attacker, who had that rare ability to hit the ball with venom with both feet, scoring numerous goals in the Gold and Black jersey. He nowadays runs his own transport logistics company, Salimuze, in South Africa.
The 56-year-old was part of Chiefs’ first participation in an African cup competition in 1993, facing Botswana’s Extension Gunners in the preliminary round of the Cup of Champions, nowadays named the Champions League.
The Glamour Boys easily won the encounter over two legs, after which a trip to Rwanda followed to face Kiyovu Sports. “The situation in the country was tense at the time,” he remembers, “soldiers were doing the passport control at the airport.”
Chiefs also flew past the Rwandans, but accordingly went out over two legs against Egypt’s champions Zamalek.
Zesco United are Zambia’s champions. They have a good side. “They really are to Zambia what Kaizer Chiefs is to South Africa,” explains Bwalya. “Zesco is an electricity company, like Eskom. It means that the club is well-financed.”
The Zambian club play at the ultra-modern Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola. “I expect about 30 000 people to attend the game,” Bwalya says. “It really promises to be an interesting game.”
Chiefs play Zesco United on Sunday, 13 January (kick-off at 15:00, Zambian and South African time) in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup play-off round.
The second leg will be played at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 19 January (kick-off is at 20:00). Tickets for the second leg are already available at Computicket and Shoprite/Checkers at R40.
The winner on aggregate over the two legs will progress to the group stage of the Confederation Cup.
“I therefore want to call on all Kaizer Chiefs supporters to attend next weekend’s match in numbers,” Bwalya comments. “It will be great to see Chiefs reach the group stage.”
However, first there is the match on Sunday. Bwalya, who closely follows South African and Zambian soccer, sums up the main dangerman in Zesco United’s line-up.
“Their goalkeeper, Jacob Banda is very experienced. He’s an outstanding shot-stopper. Zesco United’s defence is great. It starts with the two wing-backs, Fackson Kapumbu on the left and Simon Silwimba on the right. They both like to go forward and put telling crosses into the opponent’s box.
“Centre-back David Owino is a Kenyan international. He’s not the tallest defender, but he’s a tough customer who is not easy to go past.
“The two central midfielders, Kondwani Mtonga and John Ching’andu are also excellent. Mtonga likes to control the play from deep in midfield and is a fine passer of the ball, while Ching’andu is an enterprising midfielder, who can score goals from any angle.
“Striker Lazarous Kambole is pacy, strong and intelligent. Don’t give him space, as he will find the back of the net in a split second.”
Interestingly enough, former Chiefs striker Lewis Macha joined Zesco United at the end of 2018 and might feature on Sunday.
Former Zambian national team coach, George Lwandamina, is in charge of Zesco United. “He’s a good coach and well respected,” says Bwalya. “He’s nicknamed ‘Chicken George’ in Zambia.”
“I wish Chiefs all the best of luck in Zambia on Sunday,” the former striker concludes. “I will definitely be at FNB Stadium next weekend. And, as I already mentioned, I hope that the supporters will be that 12th man to help Chiefs go to the group stage.”