Zanaco have settled an age old debt to Nkana by delivering the 2019/2020 FAZ Super Division crown to Wusakile following The Bankers 0-0 draw away at debut title chasers Forest Rangers in a controversial replay played at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola today.
Nkana and Forest finish on 50 points but the now record 13-time Zambian champions beat their closest contenders to the crown in a chaotic shortened season due to Covid-19 on goal difference.
The draw saw Nkana received poetic justice after a controversial late appeal by second placed Forest on August 6 that saw the record champions’ coronation cancelled as the stage was being set up for them at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
This is after Forest, who had just ended Napsa Stars title interest with a 1-0 win at Arthur Davies on the same date, won a replay following a walkover win in favour of Zanaco for the unplayed match that was initially scheduled for July 18 was overturned by the FAZ Appeals Committee and the verdict arrived at the stadium in the 88th minute as the Ndola team looked resigned to finishing runners-up.
Forest had informed Zanaco at the eleventh hour that they had 28 Covid-19 cases in their camp on July 18 after The Bankers had made the trip to Ndola for the game 24 hours earlier.
Today, an aggrieved Nkana was banking on Zanaco to beat or draw with Forest who were excitedly breathing down on their necks following that successful appeal before justice was served at the end of the 90 minutes at Levy Stadium.
Meanwhile, Zanaco, who have finished sixth on 44 points, had no choice but to finally pay off a very old due to Nkana.
In the 2002 season, Zanaco saw almost 10-point lead rapidly dwindle with three games left in a three –horse race with Power Dynamos and Green Buffaloes that saw the contest separated by just a point.
Nkana’s 2-2 home draw with Zanaco in their Week 27 of that season gave The Bankers an unassailable 61-point lead with two games to spare and they could afford to lose their last two league games that ironically included a 2-0 away loss to Power three days later in their penultimate fixture that left late coach Ben Bamfuchile stunned.
That result did not go down well with Nkana’s archrivals Power who subsequently finished second a point behind Zanaco on 60 points, tied with Green Buffaloes who finished third.
Nkana would go on to finish tenth that season.
And in the final top four classification for 2019/2020, Nkana and Forest have qualified for the CAF Champions League.
Green Eagles and Napsa Stars finished tied on 48 points in third and fourth place respectively and sealed their CAF Confederation Cup qualification.