NCHANGA Rangers head coach Fighton Simukonda says his team was a letdown in the 3-1 defeat to Red Arrows during Saturday’s 2013 Barclays Cup final played at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
And Rangers have expressed disappointment over the organisers last minute change to shift the final from Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe which was a neutral venue to Nkoloma-home of Arrows.
Simukonda, who had pledged to dedicate the Barclay Cup to club sponsors- the Vedanta Resources, owned Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), said in a post match interview that while his strikers did not create many scoring opportunities in front of the goal, the entire team collectively let him down.
He said Rangers were actually the architects of their own downfall when they stopped fighting after taking the lead in the 53rd minute through Martin Daka.
But the airmen responded with three goals through Lubinda Mundia, Patrick Musonda and Philip Sikwese to claim the Barclays Cup title for the first time since its inception in 2007 with Zesco United winning it a record three times followed by Power Dynamos on two and Napsa Stars on one title.
“This loss makes me feel very bad. The team just decided to go to sleep, especially the defence. They went to sleep in the last 20 minutes and that when we were caught napping. Its’ very, very painful lose like this. We had the advantage and we gave it away.
“The strikers also were a letdown. They didn’t shoot at goal enough. How can you expect to win a game if you are not attempting to score? This is a great opportunity,” said Simukonda, who has won the Barclays Cup title before with Zesco.
And Rangers vice-chairperson Jim Chongo was left cursing the organisers of the event for changing the venue of the final at the last hour from Arthur Davies Stadium to Nkoloma Stadium.
“Why did they have to change at the last minute? Arrows won because they were playing at home, if we were to play this game at Nchanga Stadium, we would have won. We cannot lose at home also. Even SuperSport were showing the venue of this game as being Arthur Davies Stadium,” a visibly upset Chongo said.
As the Rangers officials and players were smarting from the final defeat, the same could not be said of their opposite team whose coach George Lwandamina was gracious in victory praising his charges to putting away the chances created in the second half.
Lwandamina said the cup title win was a great present to the sponsors and a satisfying ending to a season that saw his team start so well but faltered towards the end to see their title hopes fade finishing fifth in the process.
“I am happy my boys played well and ended the year with something to show the sponsors. I am very sure they will be proud of this. They players did well in the second half, I told them to utilise the chances as you noticed, we created a lot of chances in the first half but never made them count,” he said.
Times of Zambia | MTN Football