By Staff Writer
Konkola Copper Mines has given a go-ahead to the executive at demoted Nchanga Rangers Football Club to find a co-sponsor in a bid to return to the Super League.
Rangers, a seasoned campaigner in the Zambian premier league had been struggling in recent years until they were finally relegated into division one in the just ended season due to poor sponsorship by their main sponsor, KCM.
Rangers finished the season third from bottom in 18th position, with just 26 points from 38 matches in a 20-team league.
The demotion of the legendary club that has produced some of the nation’s finest footballers has sparked anger and consternation among its staunch followers in the soccer-mad Chingola town aimed at KCM with most of their vocal supporters calling for the Vedanta group, the mine owners to leave the country.
Konkola Blades FC of Chililabombwe, once a glamorous side was also demoted from the top flight a couple of seasons ago due to poor sponsorship by KCM and as case is with Konkola Mine Police FC.
Nampundwe, another KCM sponsored side, is languishing in the lower division and is all but nothing to write home about.
“At what point is the government going to say ‘enough is enough.’ Look at the communities in which they operate, they have been ruined. This town [Chingola] was the cleanest town in Zambia before KCM came, now look at it.
“Look at Chililabombwe and Nampundwe…now they have killed the historic symbol of mining in this town. I grew up supporting Rangers; we are many of us, our children found us supporting this team. We don’t want them, they are selling our copper and leave us with huge holes, empty-handed, what have we done to deserve this?” lamented an elderly Rangers supporter Emmanuel Simbeye of Chiwempala township in Chingola.
But in an interview, Rangers president Yoram Kapayi who is also a senior KCM employee said the mining company would continue sponsoring the fallen club but had allowed his executive to find other sponsors to increase resources and return the team to the top-flight.
He said his executive was already putting modalities in place aimed at returning the team to the super league.
“We are working out plans which we will communicate to you later when we have finished. The objective is to return to the Super League quickly…of course KCM will continue sponsoring the team and they have asked us get a co-sponsor,” said Kapayi.
Rangers were demoted alongside newcomers, New Monze Swallows, Kabwe Youth Soccer Academy and National Assembly.