By NDINAWE SIMPELWE and ADRIAN MWANZA –
GREEN Buffaloes want to camp outside the country to give the players the right mental attitude to cope with the rigorous life of the CAF Confederations Cup after they were handed a nightmare draw against Egyptian side Al Masry.
Despite the Buffaloes drawing what seems a shot straw from the four Zambian sides in CAF clubs football competitions, their coach Bilton Musonda feels the draw is fair and his side will be ready for the encounter.
Buffaloes, who finished fourth in the just ended season, play the Cairo-based Al Masry,who also finished fourth in the Egyptian league, at preliminary round stage of the 2018 CAF Confederations Cup.
“We want to camp outside the country for about six weeks. We are just waiting on the (Zambia Army) Command to confirm with us but the draw is alright,” he said.
He said Al Masry may be a good side but so was Buffaloes who would prove their worth in the two encounters against the Egyptian side.
“In a nut shell, it’s a fair draw for us and we just hope that we execute our off-season programme and get into the game ready,” said Musonda, himself not new to continental football both as a player and coach.
His counterpart at Zanaco Numba Mumba admitted meeting a West African side was not the easiest of tasks and said because of that, he will take the clash against the Gambia Armed Forces with caution.
Mumamba admitted knowing little about Gambia Armed Forces but that he would not take any chances when the two teams faceoff in February.
He revealed that he had looked up the Gambia side after the draws and noticed they were presently top of their league.
“We are hosting the Gambian side first so we have to ensure that we get maximum points so that we won’t be under pressure in the return fixture,” he said.
ZESCO United coach Tenant Chembo says facing JKU of Zanzibar will be the team’s toughest challenge in the Champions League yet.
Zesco’s return to the CAF Champions League after one year absence was rewarded with a preliminary round draw against little known Jeshi la Kujenga Uchumi Sporting Club (JKUSC) of Zanzibar.
Chembo said facing a team that is not well known is always tricky and JKU will prove to be a tough opponent because the club can pull a surprise.
“It is one of the toughest draws we have come across. It has invited a lot of hardwork. It is a hard draw because playing the unknown is very difficult, we have to be well prepared because there is no underrating a team in modern football,” Chembo said.
JKU will be making only their third appearance in the CAF interclub championships having competed in the Confederations Cup in 2016 where they were eliminated at the first round by SC Villa of Uganda on 5-0 aggregate.
The team also participated in the African Cup Winners’ Cup way back in 1975.
NKANA coach Beston Chambeshi says it is a relief to be placed on bye in the first round as it will give his technical bench enough time to prepare.
Chambeshi said he is looking at rebuilding the team to make it stronger for Confederation Cup and has welcomed being on bye.
He said the team needed ample time to be ready because the competition will be tough especially that there will be new players in the team.
“It’s nice and good because it will give us ample time to prepare. We are looking at rebuilding the team so this is welcome. We need to prepare well, play high quality friendly matches outside the country,” Chembeshi said.
Nkana’s last appearance in the CAF in 2014 saw them reach the group stage.
Chambeshi further said he was looking to boost the team with a defender and an attacking midfielder.