Nkana have at short notice won their petition to play their final 2016 FAZ Super Division Week 34 fixture away at Forest Rangers in Ndola to December 10 because of their second place contender Zesco United’s three-match backlog.
Nkana in their petition stated that it would not be in the interest of fair play that they play Forest on December 4 while Zesco enjoyed an undue advantage in that fight for the number two spot.
December 10 will see Zesco play their final of three games when they visit Lumwana Radiants and will also see
Green Eagles and demoted Lusaka Dynamos’ Week 34 match also delayed to the same date.
Nkana and Zesco are on 67 and 63 points with one and three games left to play respectively.
The number two slot comes with a ticket for Zambia’s slot in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.
Nkana also cited in their petition that the backlog fixtures would be unfair for the relegation fighting sides although it was just Nakambala Leopards who occupied the only demotion slot yet to be confirmed.
Mufulira Blackpool, Lusaka Tigers and Lusaka Dynamos have already been relegated.
Nakambala, whom Zesco will host on December 4 and visit on December 7, hold the fate of five teams above them; Lumwana Radiants (38, two games) Green Eagles (38, one game ), Nchanga Rangers (39, one game ), Mufulira Wanderers (39, one game) and Napsa Stars (39, one game) in the race to reach that 41 point magic number.
Nakambala have 35 points with two games left to play.
But the ruling now hands the power to play to the minor teams starting next season with Zambia’s continental representative who notoriously defer league matches once on CAF club cup duty ultimately expected to be hit the most.
The precedent will hand the minor clubs powers obliging the so-called big guns to fulfill their fixtures at short notice to avoid another end of season farce that we have just witnessed in the Nkana ruling.
However, the big guns could circumnavigate that minefield by abusing their status with the last say citing their continental matches are in nation’s’ interest.