The FAZ season opening championship takes place this weekend with champions Zanaco FC travelling the short distance from Sunset Stadium to Woodlands to take on Zesco United –- the team they dethroned last season to reclaim the title of kings of Zambian football.
This semifinal of the Samuel “Zoom” Ndlovu Charity Shield has every ingredient to live up to the billing as the clash of the titans as the two giants were only separated by goal difference at the end of a very exciting 2009 season.
Zanaco wrestled the title from Zesco on the last day of the campaign, thus ending Zesco United’s two-year unbroken reign, which culminated in the “Team Ya Ziko” storming the lucrative group stages of the Champions League. That has been left to the history books and enrichment of Zambia’s great soccer heritage.
Going into the 2010 campaign, Zanaco are the champions and the kings of the league.
As they come face to face with the power of Zesco, the sensational bankers have already had the earliest taste of competitive football; having kicked off their Orange CAF Champions League crusade last weekend, albeit, with a result they will be playing to wipe out next week when Uganda’s URA set foot on the sunset turf with a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg.
The Charity Shield championship therefore, provides Zanaco with the perfect opportunity to get their act together as they look forward to the reverse fixture of the champions’ league. For Zesco, it’s an opportunity to claim early season bragging rights as the team to beat.
Zanaco vs Zesco United
Venue: Woodlands Stadium
Date: Saturday, February 20
In the other semifinal on the Copperbelt, Barclays Cup winners Power Dynamos play Green Buffaloes at Kafubu Stadium in Luanshya.
Power Dynamos have openly declared their intention to break the dominance of Zanaco and Zesco United, who between them have shared the last five league titles. They come up against a team that many reckon has largely underachieved over the seasons.
However, with Aggrey Chiyangi replacing George Lwandamina, who has gone to Kabwe Warriors, as difficult as predictions are for this match, so is the outcome between these sides, which competed in the final of the 2009 Barclays Cup final.
Green Buffaloes vs Power Dynamos
Venue: Kafubu Stadium
Date: Saturday February 20