November 25, 2020

Zesco United set for rebuilding after missing out on continental football

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Timu ya Ziko finished fifth in the abandoned season and will not play continental football in the new campaign

Zambian top-tier side Zesco United, home to three Kenya players, are set for massive changes to return to their best in the 2020/21 season.

Jesse Were, David Owino and John Makwatta are the three East African players plying their trade in Timu ya Ziko. However, the Ndola based side struggled at some point in the abandoned season and ended up finishing fifth, missing out on continental football.

“It is unfortunate especially if you consider the way we started this league, we won our first 10 matches and somewhere along the way we lost,” Zesco United CEO Richard Mulenga told the club’s website.

“The process of rebuilding starts on Monday. We already know what some of the issues are, we just need to start addressing them. Some of them, we started addressing them even before the league was closed because of the pandemic.”

Ageing players have a reason to worry as the management has now resorted to part ways with a player once he hits a certain age.

“One of them is to ensure that no contract shall be given to a player who will remain at the club beyond a certain age,” Mulenga added.

“Unfortunately, what happened was that, because of the transition in the league, player’s contracts were expiring at a time where you could not bring in other players because we were going to be short of players if we didn’t renew.

“What we did was to offer shorter-term contracts to sitting players because of the transition. Those whose contracts had expired but were above a certain age, we offered them shorter contracts so that we could give room to rebuild.”  

The administrator has already set sights on the club reclaiming the top-tier next season, and dominate as they have done in the recent past.

“Zesco United is a team that thinks in the long term, that’s the reason you see that we don’t change coaches here and there. 

“We want stability at the club, so even this rebuilding process, we will want to win the league next season but we also need to be mindful that rebuilding takes some time. 

“We will not be in a hurry certainly to just pick players all over to try and regain the championship, that’s not the solution.”

So what is the solution?

“We are looking at it in the long term and one of the issues goes back to policy. We have several teams that are scattered around the country which we call developmental teams. 

“We want to ensure that we are tapping into these teams, bringing talent through.”