Since winning promotion two seasons ago, it is clear that the project at Buildcon is to play in CAF inter club competitions and the Ndola-based outfit have never been as close to achieving that dream as they have come this year in the transitional season of the MTN FAZ Super League.
Buildcon were top of Stream B of the MTN FAZ Super going into last Friday’s match with Green Eagles, but they dropped to second position following an underwhelming performance, losing the top position to their victorious opponents in the process.
Although they seem to be fairing well in terms of media coverage, comparing favourably with the likes of Zesco United, Nkana and Zanaco in that aspect, they have failed to outperform their competition on the pitch.
For a team whose only success is winning promotion to the Super League at the end of the 2016, one would have thought that winning the league or the Absa Cup would have been a more reasonable objective, but for them domestic glory matters less than playing in Africa.
They have failed to achieve that dream in the past two seasons in which they have had three coaches – Jadrane Hichan (Spaniard), Arena Gulgleimo (Italian) and Tenant Chembo – and are now on their fourth in three seasons with Serbian Srdjan Zivojnov, Chembo having been relegated to the position of assistant coach.
But it is how they faired when losing 1-0 at home to Green Eagles last Friday that got me thinking about whether Buildcon were ready for Africa. The fact that they were outplayed by a team which itself did not go far in its maiden appearance in Africa, should worry the Buildcon establishment and get them to rethink their project.
On the evidence of that performance, Buildcon are not yet ready to dominate the MTN FAZ Super League in spite of their best efforts. To play in Africa, they need to change a few things about their business, especially where player recruitment is concerned.
They are still on course to qualifying for Africa, and should they be among the four teams representing Zambia in the 2019/20 season, they will need to maintain their central defensive partnership of Isaac Shamujompa and David Nshimirimana.
Their goalkeeper Katembwa Ngeleka has conceded the fewest number of goals so I will be surprised if they did not keep him for the 2019/20 regular season.
With most of their attacks taking place on the wings, it is obvious that have very good wingers. It is in central midfield where they have lacked leaders and they were exposed against Green Eagles, when their wingers got marked out of the game.
Instead of overhauling the whole squad like they have done in the past two or three seasons, they will do well to recruit players only in the right positions, those being in the central midfield and striking departments.
With an unmatched economic model in the Zambian Super League, Buildcon should not struggle to invest in experienced players should they qualify for the CAF Champions League or the Confederation Cup. But this is where they need to change.
Previous marquee signings did very little in building a formidable team. Kenyan forward Jean Marc Makwatta and Ugandan Geoffrey Sserunkuma were top of the scorers’ charts in Kenya and Uganda respectively before joining Buildcon, but failed to live up to the hype in the Super League.
If they are going to be a dominant team in the MTN FAZ Super League they will need to invest budding talents. Kingsley Kangwa and Lameck Banda have fitted well into the squad so far.
One thing is obvious under Zivojnov. He has molded Buildcon into a defensive unit that has conceded the least number of goals across both streams.
Now they need a good mixture of youth and experience.