The roots of Power Dynamos Fotball Club can be traced to the year 1971 when Mr. Paul Kaira, a famous Ndeke businessman, spotted an exciting non-league youth soccer team playing at Mapili Ground in the heart of the township. Kaira took up sponsorship by buying the team footballs and playing kit and affiliating it to the Kitwe District Amateur Football Association (KDAFA) League.
As the team kicked, dribbled and headed it’s way up in the tough amateur leagues of those good old days, Copperbelt Power Company (CPC), the earliest forerunner to Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), were also in the process of joining the other mining industry companies, Roan Consolidated Mines (RCM) and Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines (NCCM), in the promotion and sponsorship of Zambian soccer.
A well known FIFA referee and soccer administrator the late Mr. Arthur Walter Davies together with another top-flight sports administrator Mr. Ernest Mate successfully convinced CPC management to sponsor a football club in the amateur ranks and the same ‘Paul Kaira boys’ were their automatic choice. This happened in 1974 and the team was in the KDAFA first division. Having had a successful run in the league the team was in 1975 promoted to the Copperbelt Amateur Football Association (CAFA), which had two divisions. And then in 1976 it so happened that FAZ decided to restructure the leagues and introduced a Division Three league.
In 1977 the CPC team, renamed Power Dynamos, won promotion into the FAZ Division Three league which featured teams like Luanshya Police Hookers, Ndola Lime, Roan Hard Hats, Mindolo Rifles, Fisansa Arsenals, Scaw Rangers, Cobra Rangers, Zambia Airways sponsored Ndeke Eagles and Whitespoon Leopards from the Copperbelt. Chilanga Heroes, Malaiti Rangers, Kafue Textiles, Chelstone Druggers, Zamsure and Profund Warriors were some of the teams from Midlands.
As a mark of their seriousness CPC management decided to build a better stadium for Power Dynamos. The team had been sharing Mapili Ground with the now defunct City of Kitwe FC, a second division side sponsored by the Kitwe City Council. Arthur Davies Stadium was thus constructed in 1976 and opened in 1977 at a colourful ceremony to celebrate the entry in the FAZ ranks.
Dynamos spent only one season in Division Three and were once again promoted to an even tougher nationwide FAZ Division Two league. At this time, because of being well organised, they had started attracting players from other clubs. These were mostly veteran ex-internationals in the afternoons of their careers. On their list of recruits were former Zambia and Kabwe Warriors midfield genius Richard Stephenson and the ex-Rhokana United trio of Geoff Mason, Hudson Kamfwa and goalkeeper Grant Chisenga.
Second Division soccer was a tough affair considering that most of the opposition were veterans in the league. There were teams like Kamfinsa Police Blue Eagles, Buseko, Lubengele FC, Luanshya United, Chibuku Warriors, Vitafoam, Ndola Sunlight Rovers, Raylton, Mindola United, K.B Davies, Chingola United and Lusaka Tigers. Most of these teams had seen times in the league and some of them are still holding the same status to date. However, Power Dynamos shrugged off such stiff competition to finish runners up to fellow new comers and town mates Mutondo Stars of ZCCM Operations Centre and earned promotion into the then elite FAZ Division One at the end of 1978.
The 1979 soccer season saw more players crossing over to the Dynamos camp. Mufulira Blackpool lost their master dribbler and international Alex Chola, at Ndola United defence kingpin Michael Musonda packed his bags whilst Green Buffaloes had to part with internationals goalkeeper Kenny Mwape and winger Bizwell Phiri. From town mates Mindolo United came Peter Kaumba. These plus others teamed up with the original crop of players such as Edwin Kanyanta, Friday Mulenga, Blackwell Chalwe, Evans Mwewa, Francis Mutembo, Abel Mwelesho and John Yambayamba to form a very formidable side that was “ready to scorch any team to the top league,” as Chairman Arthur Davies rightly bragged.
Power Dynamos also attracted a top class coach in former Rhokana United, Atlanta Chiefs, Aston Villa and Zambia international star Freddie Mwila. The ‘Baby Born With Teeth’ was hungry for honour and fame in the top league and was soon to make its mark. It all started with the 1979 Independence Cup, which they grabbed in grand style. Beating giants Green Buffaloes 4 – 2 in the semi finals they went on to meet Ndola United in the final. Dynamos battled to a goalless draw with the Ndola veterans in 120 minutes of play. As per FIFA regulations they went into a penalty shoot out. Interestingly both sides converted the shots. Sudden death extra kicks were the added and Ndola missed one to give Power a 7 – 6 victory and their first ever piece of silverware. The following year 1980 the same trophy found its way back to the Arthur Davies Stadium closet. Green Buffaloes were their victims once again and they were roasted and eaten two – Nil on their home turf, Independence Stadium.
Nineteen eighty was indeed a successful year for Power because earlier in the year they had won the Champion of Champions trophy. Again their newly established archrivals Green Buffaloes were their jinxed victims in the semis. The two sides had a week earlier met in the season opening Charity Shield match in which Buffaloes emerged victor. Power avenged the defeat with a 2 – 0 win to face the then legendary cup fighters ‘Mighty’ Mufulira Wanderers who were handsomely handed a 3 – 0 bashing in the Champion of Champions final.
In 1981 Power Dynamos continued their successful silverware warpath by retaining the Champion of Champions cup via a 4 – 2 blasting of Ndola United in another 120 minutes duel. This honour pushed them into tasting international soccer limelight as representatives in the Africa Cup of Cup Winners for the second year running. In those days winners of the Champion of Champions were nominated to the prestigious continental tournament.
During an end of season party in December 1981 Arthur Davies sounded a serious warning to the boys: “The fact that you have retained the trophy (Champion of Champions) should not make you take a holiday because there is a tight commitment ahead, not only for the club but for the nation.”
The message was taken heed of and the team braced for their second attempt at bringing continental glory after the first could not see them go beyond the quarterfinals. With the emergence of young players like Wisdom Chansa from Nkana Red Devils reserve team, Ndeke township youths such as Lucky Msiska and Stafford Mutalama and raw imports like Ndeke Eagles upstart Boyd Chilembo, Bonnie Muma and Pascal Kunda (Alex Chola’s young brother) Dynamos had added even more firepower to their act. To prove this, for third time in four years, they again bagged the 1982 Independence Cup with Konkola Blades being shamed with an overwhelming 5 – 0 whacking.
But then their sweetest success story came in the Africa Cup of Cup Winners. The race began with the elimination of Coffee Football Club of Uganda who they beat 2 – 0 at Arthur Davies Stadium after a 0 – 0 draw in Kampala. Then came Pan-African of Tanzania who were jostled out through a 5 – 4 penalty shoot out. This was after a 1 – 1 aggregate stalemate. Zimbabwe’s CAPS United were next on the chopping board. A 3 – 0 home win and a 2 – 1 away were more than enough to give Power a passage through to the semi finals where Djoliba Bamako of Mali lay in the waiting.
As history of the Zambian game had it at that time no club had ever crossed the semi final hurdle in a continental competition. Previous envoys such as Kabwe Warriors, Mufulira Wanderers and Green Buffaloes had all failed in the past. So this time around the onus was set on Power Dynamos to break the jinx. The Dynamos technical bench of Freddie Mwila and Bill Mac Garry, an expatriate Briton attached to the team by ZCCM Power Division left no stones unturned in the all-important preps.
It was a week before Zambia’s eighteenth birthday when Power Dynamos delivered a special Independence Day celebration gift by beating Djoliba 2 – 1 in a thrilling closely contested match at Arthur Davies Stadium. Two weeks later the two teams drew 0 – 0 in Bamako. History was made and a jinx was broken, as Power Dynamos became the first club in Southern Africa to reach the final of a continental tournament. There was certainly need to celebrate the feat. However the celebrations were put in check when news filtered through that Dynamos would now face Arab Contractors of Egypt in the two legged final.
It was nothing else but the impact that North African soccer has had on the African scene that boggled the mind. Would Power break another jinx and defeat the dreaded Egyptians? The answer came when the two sides clashed in the first leg at Independence Stadium in Lusaka. The match amassed fans from across the country who flocked to the stadium to cheer the Zambians but the traditional North African dominance had a telling effect as Power Dynamos were beaten 2 – 0. The return leg ended with the same result creating a heavy 4 – 0 goal aggregate. However Power Dynamos superb performance in the 1982 Africa Cup of Cup Winners did not pass unrecognised on the continent. It prompted Rothmans International to invite them to a six nations African Club Champions’ soccer tournament held May 1983 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Power went on to do more proud to Zambian soccer once again by not only reaching the final but also winning the Rothmans International trophy. To reach the final Power Dynamos beat Stella Abidjan (Ivory Coast) 2 – 1, FC 105 (Gabon) 4 – 1 and Nigeria’s Bendel Insurance 2 – 1. In the final Dynamos drew 0 – 0 with Cameroonian giants Tonnere Yaonde FC and went on to win 5 – 4 on post match penalties. Hero of the match was goalkeeper Blackwell Chalwe who not only kept a clean slate in 90 minutes but also saved the decisive spot kick.
The Rothmans International tournament also saw two Power Dynamos players Alex Chola and Peter Kaumba clinching professional contracts with Ivorian giants Africa Sports. For Kaumba this was just another plus added to his career for the previous year he had scooped both Footballer and Sportsman of the Year Awards alongside being voted ‘Best Left Winger’ and second best player at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations. He also finished as the nation’s top scorer.
Although they had registered excellence in silverware haulage within a very short time in top league soccer the league championship had proved to be very elusive to Power Dynamos. They in 1982 and 1983 came second to archrivals and across the road neighbours Nkana Red Devils who had taken over supremacy from GBFC and Wanderers. However the jinx of finishing second was broken in 1984 when they clinched their first ever league championship title.
The maiden league title gave them a berth into the 1985 Africa Club Champions Cup but the attempt in this tournament, which is a forerunner to the CAF Champions League, fell through when CAPS United avenged the 1982 elimination with a 2 – 0 win at Arthur Davies Stadium. Although Power Dynamos had to wait for a few more years to get another league title they were – between 1984 and 1989 – once again second best on the table to Nkana (1985, 1986, 1988) and Kabwe Warriors (1987).
Power Dynamos opened the 90s with a declaration of intent by giving themselves a new title ‘Power 90’. Nineteen Ninety was indeed a very significant year for Zambian football in that ZCCM, then the leading sponsor of soccer in Zambia, ventured into a professional soccer arrangement for six of its clubs namely Nkana Red Devils, Nchanga Rangers, Mufulira Wanderers, Konkola Blades, Roan United and of course Power Dynamos. In this new set up the clubs became ZCCM subsidiary companies and were to start generating part of their own money through various business ventures. Power Dynamos Limited was thus born under a Board of Directors led by the then ZCCM Power Division General Manager Mr. Frederick Bantubonse. On the board Directorate were Bantubonse (chairman), Mbita Sikazwe, Hanson Sindowe, C Zimba, William Dow and Ernest Mate.
In administration Bantubonse led as Executive Chairman, Paul Chintu was Finance Manager, Josephat Kambwili (Business Development Manager) and Whiteson Chiti (Administrative Manager). Veteran soccer legend Freddie Mwila represented the players’ interests on the board as Team Manager, as well as heading a powerful technical team comprising Jim Bone (Technical Advisor), Alex Chola (Senior Coach), Clement Banda (Coach) and Edwin Kanyanta (Coach).
The playing staff led by Wisdom Chansa as team captain had Linos Makwaza, Winter Mumba, Kenan Simambe, Martin Mwamba (Goalkeeper), Dennis Chisebuka (Reserve Goalkeeper), Douglas Mwamba, Simon Mwansa, Robert Watiyakeni, Edwin Katongo, Richard Siame, Aggrey Chiyangi, Webby Chilufya, Richard Sikanyika, Charles Kafula and Dick Amokola lining up as the first team players.
With this fine crop of players, coaches and administrators Power Dynamos went on to bag three trophies out of four in the first year of professional soccer. They made a fifth for the Zambia Breweries sponsored Independence Cup (now renamed as Mosi Cup); won the BP Challenge Cup for the very first time and claimed the Champion of Champions cup for the third time. But again they would settle for second place on the Premier League table to their traditional rivals Nkana. These achievements made them the most ideal nominee for the 1991 Africa Cup of Cup Winners, which CAF had also re-named Nelson Mandela Cup.
The Dynamos Mandela Cup success story is the best every Zambian soccer follower remembers with pride as Power made unequalled history by winning the cup. In that epic final Power were drawn away to Lagos, Nigeria where they met that country’s champions BCC Lions. After putting up a gallant fight Dynamos narrowly lost 3 – 2 and with the two away goals in their bag they were set for the second leg slated for Independence Stadium.
The return match was an interesting true fairytale encounter in which BCC Lions gave the Zambians a scare by scoring first and pushing their goal aggregate tally to 4 – 2. But a very determined Power Dynamos put up a gallant fight and came from behind to win 3 – 1 and skipper the late Wisdom Chansa lifted and kissed the first ever continental trophy to be won by a Zambian team (national team inclusive). The victory was also the first ever for any team in Southern Africa.
One other interesting aspect of the Zambian game that arose with the emergence of Power Dynamos was the arch-rivalry with Nkana. Local derbies between the two sides always generated a lot of excitement among the fans. Behind the rivalry were two factors. Among the fans the rivalry was built around locality conflicts. Residents of non-mine townships were for a long time searching for a team to pay their allegiance to after the fall of Buchi based Kitwe United and Ndeke’s City of Kitwe. The rise of Power saw these fans shifting their support to the team in spite of it being a mining industry side.
To the players the rivalry grew from childhood clashes because most of them grew up together and had often met in the gruel non-league inter township and inter-schools contests. Some had even played together in the Nkana nursery teams. Meeting again at premier league level was hence naturally exciting. For others especially Power players having not been selected into mainstream Nkana (Rhokana United) from the junior and reserve sides led to joining Dynamos and meeting Nkana was always a way of proving a point or two about their capabilities to Nkana technical staff. Wisdom Chansa, Simon Mwansa, Aggrey Chiyangi and Zifa Nkhoma fell in this category. And then there were those other players like Douglas Chiwaya and Peter Chola who shuttled between the two teams in their careers.
Even coaches were caught up in the dicey rivalry game. People like Freddie Mwila and Ben Bamfuchile were groomed by Nkana but also scored some coaching successes with Power. In fact both are naturally self-confessed childhood supporters of Nkana. And then there was the case of Gaston Mutobo who joined Power after a successful stint at Nkana and still performed well at Arthur Davies Stadium. Given this background Power/Nkana local derbies produced interesting results. Power would surprisingly emerge victor at Nkana Stadium but lose or draw at home to the ‘Red Devils’.
However, in cup matches, Power never just got their act right narrowly losing whenever the two sides met. One BP Top Eight final saw Power losing 3 – 2 in a see saw affair that produced ugly scenes after the game. Irate fans that alleged that he had given away the match assaulted goalkeeper Stanley Mumba.
Even at a time when the two rivals fell a division apart (after Nkana’s demotion) the supporters of the two sides still exercised their rivalry as evidenced in their clash in the 2005 Mosi Cup pre-quarter final match played at Arthur Davies Stadium. Power whacked their neighbours 4 – 0 in a game that produced some ugly scenes on the terraces, as Nkana fans could not swallow the defeat that easily.
The greatest plus that Power Dynamos has scored compared to other former ZCCM teams is that they have shown some consistency both administratively and on the pitch. For instance while the Business Ventures that were introduced in 1990 have crumbled in most of the clubs Power Dynamos continues to be sponsored by Power Sports Limited, a subsidiary of Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) that took over from Power Dynamos Limited.
On the field of play since the advent of the 1990s Power has ensured that at least they bag a piece of silverware nearly every season. In addition to already cited trophies they won the 1995 Charity Shield, Mosi Cup (1997, 2001, 2003), BP Top Eight Champions (2001), Coca Cola Cup (2003) and Charity Shield (2004). In the 2003 Coca Cola Cup Power eliminated Riflemen, a first division side with a 4 – 0 bashing in the pre-quarter final. The trio of Rwandan international John Lomani (2 goal hero), Francis Kombe and Isaac Chansa did the damage. The quarterfinals saw Power battling to a 1 – 1 draw with GBFC. Power drew first blood in the 77th minute through Chisi Mbewe with Chris Katongo equalising at the stroke of full time. Power sailed through 4 – 3 on penalties.
A penalty shoot out was again called for in the semi finals when Power Dynamos drew 1 – 1 with Kitwe United in a cracking local derby. Power carried the day on a 10 – 9 score line and on 22 November they lifted the Coca Cola Cup beating Red Arrows 1 – 0 through a Francis Kombe 53rd minutes goal.
In the Mosi Cup Power joined the race in the 7th round a stage where all premier league teams joined in after lower rated teams had jostled it out among themselves. Power first beat Young Arrows 5 – 4 on penalties after a 0 – 0 deadlock. And then in the last sixteen they shoved off relegation bound premier side Prison Leopards 3 – 0, with goals coming from John Lomani (12th minute), Francis Kombe (63rd min) and Isaac Chansa (70th min). Another emphatic 3 – 0 win over Nkwazi saw Power sailing through to the semi-finals. Isaac Chansa was on target again netting a hat trick. Chansa contributed yet another goal in the semi-final as Power beat ZANACO 2 – 1. Dears Kakunta netted the other goal.
And so on December 13, Power Dynamos completed 2003 with a 1 – 0 vengeance victory over Kabwe Warriors in the final. John Munkonje scored the lone goal against the team that had earlier in the year eliminated Power from the BP Top Eight Cup. Twenty Zero Four would then see Power lifting the Charity Shield. During the 2005 season Power Dynamos unsuccessfully pursued another berth to continental soccer but failed when they finished third on the log. Rules by then had changed that only second placed teams would compete for the CAF Confederations Cup.
Another noteworthy achievement occurred between 1994 and 2000 when Power Dynamos managed to win three league titles spaced in three years apiece. In between most of these titles they finished in runner up positions except for 1999 when they dropped to the midstream only to dramatically recover the following year and be crowned as the first league champions in the 21st Century.
History also has it that Power Dynamos has contributed a good number of key players to national teams ever since they stepped into the higher ranks of Zambian football. These players have worn international caps at both senior and age group levels. Their list includes respected names like Alex Chola, Peter Kaumba, Bizwell Phiri, Ken Mwape, Abel Mwelesho, Evans Mwewa, John Yambayamba, Boyd Chilembo, Pearson Mwanza, Wisdom Chansa, Bonnie Muma, Richard Sikanyika, Linos Makwaza, Happy Simfukwe, Wedson Nyirenda and Lucky Msiska in the 1980s. Aggrey Chiyangi, Robert Watiyakeni, Douglas Mwamba, Mannaseh Mwanza, Kenny Mwila, Peter Chitila, Martin Mwamba, Stanley Mumba, Rotson Kilambe, Douglas Chiwaya, John Soko, Winter Mumba, Kellies Mwaba, Emmanuel Chibale, Sunday Kalunga, Ronald Mukosha and Kenan Simambe featured in the 1990s. Billy Mwanza, Isaac Chansa, Dears Kakunta and Francis Kombe would wear the national colours in the 2000s.
Although they were renowned for attracting already ripe star players and building up raw talent from elsewhere, Power Dynamos also keenly nurtured homegrown talent through their youth teams. Players like Gibson Shikilwa, Danny Chulampongo, Melvin Mwila, Peter Chitila, Jackson Tembo, Emmanuel Chibale, Mannaseh Mwanza, Shakes Chipoya and Isaac Chansa are some of the names schooled at Arthur Davies Stadium by dedicated coaches like Freddie Mwila, Peter Kaumba, Ben Bamfuchile and Aggrey Chiyangi.
It is important to note that while nearly all the clubs that rose to premier league status in the same era as Power Dynamos have either folded up or are playing in the lower ranks the yellow, red and white ‘Power 2000’ banner and scarves have kept flapping on at Arthur Davies Stadium, hopefully into the next decade of the twenty first century.