After a tumultuous 48 hours of Covid-19 positive cases at the eleventh hour of the 2019/2020 FAZ Super Division season restart after a four-month lockdown, action finally resumed on July 19 with a litany of draws in the doubleheader at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Twenty four hours earlier on Saturday, leaders Forest Rangers’ home game against 10th placed Zanaco was postponed at the last minute after the hosts reportedly had 28 positive test from 58 players and staff tested.
The episode caused uproar with Zanaco who demanded the 3 points after travelling to Ndola on Friday but were only informed hours before kickoff at Levy Stadium.
And later on Sunday, two players each from Zesco United and Power Dynamos tested positive in overnight testing conducted by health officials following Saturday’s chaos and have been quarantined.
But Minister of Sport Emmanuel Mulenga announced at the press briefing in Ndola on Sunday after another emergency meeting with FAZ, club representatives and health authorities that the show must go on.
Power then got the show on the road with a 1-1 away draw against Buildcon in a match the visitors dominated in the first half and took a 16th minute lead through Biston Banda after he turned in a Dave Daka cross.
The Kitwe side could have walked away with the 3 points but Buildcon goalkeeper Ndjomo Ndjana was in inspired form denying sure chances from Godfrey Ngwenya, Larry Bwalya and Kennedy Musonda.
Buildcon then stole a point in the 46th minute when captain Chanda Mushili headed-in Paul Musumali’s cross.
Power rise from 9th to 7th on 38 points, eight points behind Forest.
Buildcon stay put at the top half of the bottom four relegation zone at number 15 on 26 points.
The match was also ex-Power trainer and new Buildcon coach Kelvin Kaindu’s debut following his appointment during the lockdown.
Buildcon are tied on points with Kansanshi Dynamos who are just above them in 14th place after they held hosts and defending league champions Zesco by the same scoreline in the late kickoff.
It was a pretty sparkless game and the deadlock was broken in the 57th minute when Zesco defender Mwila Phiri turned the ball into his own net on the near post off Eric Yema’s acute angle shot.
Zesco equalized in the 73rd minute through Jesse Were who outpaced two defenders before beating Kansanshi goalkeeper Scotch Mwanza.
The dull affair’s was spiced up by referee Audrick Nkole’s blunder when he forgot to check his notes over a second yellow he gave to Kansanshi defender Timothy Sakala who finished the match unimpeded despite receiving his second booking in the 88th minute, an incident that was also missed by the opponents.
Zesco move to 4th from 5th after the draw on 43 points, exchanging places with Nkana on goal difference who only play on Wednesday at home against Zanaco in Kitwe.
And the draw was Zesco’s fourth in a roll this year who trace their last league victory to February 9 when they beat second from bottom Mufulira Wanderers 2-0 away at Shinde Stadium.
Since then, the defending champions have amassed a total of five draws and a loss as they chase an unprecedented fourth successive FAZ Super Division title win.