By MICHAEL MIYOBA
WHEN Numba Mumamba was named Zesco United head coach on September 22, 2020, replacing veteran gaffer George “Chicken” Lwanadamina, many criticised the Zesco United management for the decision.
While many, including some Zesco United fans said that the club was two big for Numba who was fired by Zanaco, others predicted that he would be one of those coaches who could lose his job because he could never succeed to rejuvenate the Ndola giants who had failed to qualify for continental games earlier.
However, seven months into the driving sit of Zambia’s most successful club in the last decade, Numba Mumamba guided Zesco United to the finals of Zambia’s only cup competition where they lost to Lusaka Dynamos 3-1 on penalties following a goalless draw in the final at Woodlands Stadium in Lusaka.
Two months later, Numba who helped Zanaco win their last Super League title in 2016, led Zesco United to equal Mighty Mufulira Wanderers record of winning nine Super League titles in the history of the competition. The Ndola giants equaled “Mighty” Mufulira Wanderers feat of winning nine Super League titles after outclassing Napsa Stars 2-0 in a rescheduled Week-18 fixture played on Sunday at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Two goals from Kenyan international, Jese Were and Mubanga Kampamba gifted Zesco United their ninth league title and made things worse for struggling Napsa Stars who are likely to compete in the Eden University National Division One League after failing to dodge the relegation zone following defeat in Ndola.
With Numba in the driving sit, Zesco United wrapped up on the league with three games to spare as they dominated the charts with 64 points, 11 points ahead of second placed Zanaco.
Zesco also became the first team to qualify for the lucrative CAF Champions League before being crowned champions.
“I am very excited lifting the championship with three games to spare. I came here for a job and I am happy we have achieved our objectives. I give credit to my players because this has been the most competitive league season.
“This wasn’t easy for any team but we rose to the occasion and we have been crowned champions. It is a good welcome for us as the new technical bench. We are very grateful to the players. We will work hard to achieve more,” Numba said.
“I came in to try and strengthen the team by bringing in young players so that they could blend together with the more experienced players for us to get results. I think the young ones have made a bigger difference. They have injected in a lot of energy in the team with the senior players supplementing,” he said.
With his success of almost clinching a double for the Ndola giants, Numba and his technical bench made their critics to eat humble pie.
After joining greats such us Wedson Nyirenda, late Fighton Simukonda, Lwandamina and Tenant Chembo, the previous league winners with Zesco United, it remains to be seen whether Zesco will be consistent to succeed in the CAF Champions League and the local league where they will also need to be consistent to remain relevant with Numba at the helm.