The Football family will also have its eyes at the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) awards that will take place on Friday at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
Several athletes and coaches in the various national teams will be lined up for awards.
The FAZ media team takes a closer look at the football players and coaches that are in contention.
1) BARBARA BANDA: The high flying Zambia international has been in scintillating form with her exploits taking her to the Spanish Primera Ibderdrola topflight where she signed for Logrono in October 2018. She had a gassy 2019 season that saw her fuel part of Zambia’s chase for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Barbara netted 15 goals in 28 games at the Estadio Nuevo Municipal Las Gaunas. The golden girl is in line for the 2019 Zambia Sports Women of the Year.
2) HELLEN MUBANGA: The 2019 Cosafa Women Championship Player of the Tournament has also been another of the flag carriers of the Zambian women football revolution. Hellen who is avowed Barcelona legend Messi fan has been crafting a story of her own with her high scoring prowess particularly for her side Red Arrows. She is well on course to be among the movers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic dream that is two fixtures away with the indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon standing in the way.
3) PATSON DAKA: The 2017 CAF Young Player of the Year had a gassy 2019 season that saw him break new grounds. Aside from rubbing shoulders with the mighty of the global game in UEFA Champions League where he also weighed in with a goal that set him in elite company Daka has been one of the country’s bright spots in the game. He was part of the team that qualified to the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations where although Zambia was booted out in the first round, Daka left with his head high having put up a Man of the Match performance against Nigeria. The Red Bull Salzburg forward also put up some fine performances for the Chipolopolo including a beautiful solo goal in the 2-1 loss to Zimbabwe in the Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Daka is in line for the Zambian Sports Man of the Year.
4) EVARINE SUZENI KATONGO: The Luyando Foundation girls is one of the brightest prospects for the future of women football in the country. Evarine is in line to be selected for the Zambian Young Sports Woman of the Year. Her exploits at the Cosafa under-20 women championship where Zambia emerged runners up got football followers talking. Her combination of skill and a knack for goals makes her one of the stars for the future. Evarine has been consistent with her performances with her Luyando Foundation team where she remains one of their pillars.
5) OSWALD MUTAPA: The former Gomes FC, National Assembly, Nkwazi, Red Arrows and Lusaka Dynamos coach and multiple tournament winner in 2019 will be hard to deny the accolade of Coach of the Year. Mutapa won trophies with the under 20s and 17s in 2019 which set him apart from the crowd. He also added the President’s Trophy in Namibia when he led the Chipolopolo on an invitational assignment. The former Chipolopolo star has been increasing his stock as a master tactician and will be looking to add more accolades in the 2020.
6) BRUCE MWAPE: The gentle natured gaffer has quietly performing wonders with the Women National team where he also earned a nomination for the CAF Coach of the Year but missed out on the final three. Mwape transformed an otherwise lacklustre Copper Queens into a fearsome side that has gone to within two fixtures on Olympic qualification. The team even reached its first ever Cosafa Women championship final where they narrowly lost to South Africa. With 2020 having more competitions for the women game it could be yet another page turner for Mwape and his Copper Queens.
7. ZAMBIA WOMEN NATIONAL TEAM: The fearless Copper Queens have established themselves as a strong continental force based on their exploits in the 2019 season. The team claimed its first ever Cosafa runners up medal and two fixtures away to qualify for the Olympic Games with Cameroon standing in their way. Bruce Mwape’s fearless damsels have been nominated for the Team of the Year accolade and can be confident of reaping that prize.
The National Sports Awards gala will be held in Lusaka on Friday at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
We wish all the nominees from the football family all the best!