17 November 2012

Zambia: Diggers, Powerhouse Set for Battle

TWO rugby giants today battle it out for the last cup trophy on offer on the 2012 Zambia Rugby Football Union (ZRFU) calendar when 'Men At Work' Diggers hosts 'Powerhouse' Lusaka for the Knock Out Cup.

Having already landed the Buildcon ZRFU national rugby league, Nchanga 10's, American tournament, Bonnie Mutale, Mufulira, Roan and David Phiri Lusaka Challenge Sevens titles, Diggers would be eying to wrap up what has been a perfect campaign with a KO Cup.

But Diggers would take on a resurgent Lusaka side that beat Red Arrows in the semi-finals as the midlands side look to win their second silverware on the campaign in what has been fairly a disappointing season.

Last weekend saw the Lusaka Rugby Club play host to the KO semi-finals that pitted the top four teams in the ZRFU league, Diggers, Lusaka, Arrows and Green Buffaloes.

The first match saw Diggers take on Buffaloes in a match that saw the two battle it out in the rains that suddenly hit Lusaka and what a game it turned out to be as the army side took on the tournament favourites.

Diggers emerged victorious winning 10-3 thanks to two tries by Kabwe Musonda and Kabwela Mulenga but Mulenga and Beneya Mukwamba failed the conversions while Buffaloes got a consolation through a Sotho Kafwimbe penalty.

"I think we could have won by a bigger margin had the players played according to plan but I am happy we are in the finals. Buffaloes gave us a tough match and the rains did not help either," Diggers coach Robertson 'Plough' Kang'ongwe said.

Kang'ongwe said there is need for Diggers to work hard if the team is to win the KO final and wrap up the season with an eighth title of the season.

"We have achieved most of the goals we had set for this year and winning the league was the highlight. Its sad we failed to win the Heroes and Ndola Sevens but I am happy we managed to win the other titles," he said.

On the KO final, the coach said his team would prepare adequately and ensure that the Kitwe wins the cup as a way of paying back to its sponsors and supporters.

A win for Diggers would be a good revenge against a Lusaka side that grabbed the league title at their own backyard in Kitwe under then the late coach Owen Busange.

Losing the league in 2008 saw rugby dominance shifting to the midlands as evidenced by the way Lusaka and Arrows reign supreme winning the league twice between them before Diggers reclaimed it this year.

The case was the same in the cup competitions where it had become a two-team race with Lusaka and Arrows sharing the Cup competition until this year when things changed and Diggers came back on the scene.

Arrows, who literally won all silverware there was to win last year including the league season, have finished the 2012 season empty handed as the 15-6 defeat to Lusaka ended any hopes of Noble Chisanga coach side.

"I think we had a bad game, we had to change the game plan due to the rains and that made it difficult for us because we could not run with the ball but had to depend on long kicks. Otherwise it was a good game but sad we lost," Chisanga said.

Veteran player Musonda Kaminsa single handed rolled back the years to blunt Arrows chances of making the final.

Musonda would be key in Lusaka's quest in winning the KO final after scoring five penalties which were enough to secure qualification to the finals. Coach Joshua Lungu has assembled a youthful side which showed a lot of promise, especially putting up a strong challenge next year.

Diggers should thus expect a tough game from Lusaka who boasts of the likes of Michello Shelleni, Israel Kalumba, Ali Bhika, McGiven Muchindu, the Summerton brothers of Kelly and Tony, Ernest Mwansa, Sanika Mwale Terry Kaushiku many others.

The Kitwe side also have seasoned players like Kabwela Mulenga, Beneya Mukwamba, Longa Chikwamo, Derrick Chewe, Patrick Chanda and Robert Chilundami who can deliver victory.

Today would also see the ZRFU hand over prize money and trophies to Diggers who will pocket K50 million for winning the A Division League and Prisons winners of the B Division League and will get K30 million.

The prize money has been made available by the league sponsors Buildcon Investments and this year's league sponsorship package, which is a first in the history of rugby in Zambia, entails the dressing of all A Division sides with the provision of two sets of jerseys and playing boots.

The package also includes K30 million to each club for logistics and that Buildcon Investments also bought two pairs of jerseys for the national rugby team and one pair of track suits.

The presentation of national team kit, that includes three sets of jersey, replica's and track suits, would be done by Kansanshi Mine public relations manager, Godfrey Msiska.

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