RED Arrows rugby coach Mwamba Chishimba says his team is now in the race to defend the National Rugby League (NRL) title after they edged Lusaka Powerhouse in the rescheduled Week-11 fixture at the Showgrounds Main Arena in Lusaka.
Speaking in an interview, Sunday, Chishimba said the team’s target was to win the game with a bonus point.
“I am very impressed with the team’s performance. Our target was to get a win with a bonus point and which we did. Individually and collectively as a team we have done important things compared to the way we started the season, this win means a lot to the team but we have two important remaining games, starting with Kitwe Playing Fields after Mufulira 7s and the last one against Green Eagles,” Chishimba said.
Chishimba, who is seeking to win the league title with Zambia Air Force (ZAF) sponsored side Arrows for the ninth time in a row, said he was looking forward to the two games.
He said individually and collectively the team had improved and looks ready to defend the league title.
Lusaka stand-in coach Sheleni Michello said his young team failed to stand the pressure of playing champions.
“We are a young team with some players two years from school, so we could not stand the pressure from playing the champions. The score line does not reflect what transpired but we accounted [for] ourselves very well and we gave the champions a good game,” he said.
The veteran player who recently was with the Zambia 7s team at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, said Arrows capitalised on the mistakes his team made.
Lusaka made a false start when Jackson Nkhoma scored three penalties to give them a 9-0 lead before Adriano Malunga scored and converted a try to extend their advantage.
However, Chileshe Mulenga brought Arrows into the game when he scored two tries before Elisha Bwalya, Alex Mwewa, Thomas Mwankenja, Gabby Mungalaba, Lawrence Kaushiku and Ronny Shiku each scored a try.
Brian Mbalwa had two conversions with Mwewa and Mungalaba managing a conversion apiece.
The win moved Arrows to 50 points after 12 games and they have a point behind second placed ‘Men-At-Work’ Diggers who have played 14 games.
League leaders Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF) lead the standings with 54 points after playing 13 matches.
After the Mufulira 7s, Arrows will play KPF and Green Eagles of Kabwe.
Lusaka remain sixth on the table with 14 points after 12 games.