Clifford Mulenga’s arrival at conspicuous consumers Zesco United signals the Ndola sides serious reaffirmation to shift the center of gravity of Zambian football to the once football backwater town.
The much-travelled winger, and still a prime target on the market, has made a shocking permanent move back home after a frustrating time in the South African PSL where he began his professional career over a decade ago with University of Pretoria FC including brief stints in Sweden and Israel.
Interestingly, Zesco will mark Clifford’s first stop in the Zambia league after leaving Chiparamba Academy over twelve years ago.
His new club Zesco have already made some shrewd buys this season with Kenyan defender David Owino and left-back Nigerian Ayo Olwafenmi both making an instant impact for the current league leaders.
Zesco are also homing-in a second back-to-back FAZ Super Division title much to the envy of illustrious giants up the road on the Kitwe/Ndola dual carriageway, Nkana and Power Dynamos.
Clifford may have not fulfilled his full potential during his years abroad but joins Zesco to reunite with a familiar face in what maybe Last Chance Saloon for the 2007 CAF Rookie of the Year.
Zesco coach George Lwandamina played a notable role in the players development at Under-20 from the Cosafa U20 Cup to the 2007 CAF Under-20 Cup where his three goals sent Zambia through to the Canada FIFA U20 World Cup that same year where the team reached the last 16.
Clifford is also the second former Lwandamina protege to join Zesco after his class of 2007 mate midfielder Justin Zulu who arrived last year and has made authoritative displays that earned him a Zambia recall last year.
Rumour has it another Class of 2007 star Fwayo Tembo almost joined his former mentor in the summer, a clear sign of the faith Lwandamina’s ex-pupils have in him.
Clifford’s arrival also adds an interesting dimension to Zesco’s midfield where the talented Cletus Chota has reigned with terror since joining Zesco this season from Nchanga Rangers after amazingly slipping through Power Dynamos’ fingers where he spent the 2014 season on loan.
Clifford’s arrival also coincides with Zesco chasing a fifth league title that will move them within one title of under-performing Power who are currently second and who were second best again last term to the Ndola club.
With four crowns in ten nine years and an ambitious acquisition project, success for Zesco in 2015 with this business model will surely see them set the standard for the foreseeable future.