Zambia: Nkwazi Finally Promoted

NKWAZI was yesterday formerly promoted to the MTN-FAZ Premier Division after being put through a tense week, heightened by a FAZ secretariat pronouncement ordering that the unplayed season-ending Week-34 match against Kascol Rangers be played.

The FAZ disciplinary committee that met at Football House yesterday ruled that Nkwazi should be awarded three points because Kascol Rangers did not turn up for the crucial match at Imboela Stadium last weekend in the MTN-FAZ Division One South League closing fixture.

The decision saw Nkwazi rise to 69 points, enough to hand them the second promotion place on two points below league winners, Kabwe Warriors.

The decision also left Kafue Celtic, who contested Nkwazi's promotion, in third place with 67 points, two points off the last promotion spot taken by Nkwazi.

The Anthony Kasolo-headed committee also fined Mazabuka's Kascol Rangers K1 million for failing to fulfil fixture.

Kascol were already relegated by the time of playing the closing fixture after getting 20 points from 33 matches.

After the hearing, Nkwazi expressed happiness at the decision with team manager, Adrian Kashala saying "It is good justice has prevailed.

Club secretary Rabson Moonga said it was good that rules and regulations had been followed and stated that Nkwazi was now focused of staying in the top league forever.

Celtic, which was partially excited by a FAZ announcement that the game be played were left with a bitter taste in the mouth especially that the final standing of league table which also determined the team to be promoted was decided in the board room.

"We are a football team and we get our points from the pitch but it is very, very unfortunate that promotion has to be moved to the boardroom. We are disappointed that we have to miss promotion because of a boardroom decision, but we wish Nkwazi all the best in the Premier Division," said Chisenga Ng'uni, the club secretary.

In the season closing fixture, second placed Nkwazi needed to beat Kascol to brush aside promotion threat poised by Kafue Celtic but their opponents Kascol Rangers failed to pitch up forcing match officials to end the game and award Nkwazi the vital three points.

Meanwhile, Celtic beat Chilenje Youth Academy and later complained and asked FAZ to compel Nkwazi to play Kascol and accused some FAZ members of using their influence in the executive committee to order the match to be played.

The committee also awarded Kabwe Warriors the three points for an unplayed game on the same day after Luena Buffaloes failed to make the trip to Kabwe to raise Warriors to an assailable 71 points, while the Mongu side was fined K1million for that failed fixture and another K1 million for a game they did not fulfil against Young Green Eagles.

On why Kascol did not travel to play Nkwazi, club secretary Vinord Mudenda said they had a tyre puncture just minutes after starting off and that their efforts to contact FAZ failed.

Luena said they did not travel to Kabwe because there was a fuel crisis in Mongu and failed to travel despite having a vehicle to ferry the players and money to buy fuel.

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