STRIKER Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba is confident Nkana have the pedigree to rewrite history in Algeria as the Zambian side kickoffs it CAF 2018 Confederation Cup campaign this evening against CR Belouizdad in a first round, first leg match at Stade du 20 Août 1955 in Algiers.
Nkana, the 1990 Africa Club Champions runners-up, return to continental action for the first time since 2014 when they made an overdue group stage debut in the same competition.
A lot is expected from Nkana especially after Green Buffaloes were ejected from the Confederation Cup preliminary round by another North African team when Al Masry of Egypt in February who beat them 4-0 away but the 2-1 home win in Lusaka was not enough to save them.
Furthermore, Nkana return to Algeria for the first time since that 1990 final where they lost 1-0 to JS Kabylie in the first leg and won 1-0 at home but lost 5-3 on post match penalties in Lusaka.
North Africa has also never been Nkana’s favourite hunting round where they last lost on 14 of their 15 trips there and with two of those defeats suffered against Algerian opposition.
Nkana’s only joy in North African came in 2014 when they knocked out CA Bizretin of Tunisia 1-1 on away goals rule to secure their CAF Confederation Cup group stage berth.
But Kampamba, who was Nkana’s continental cup top scorer that year, insists they have the pedigree to rewrite history in Algeria just like the Chipolopolo during the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“This is a high profile game, but we have a team, the game will not be easy but we are looking for a positive result. It is just about the mental strength and the right attitude,” Kampamba said.
Quality in attack is what Nkana are blessed with heading into tonight’s 18:00 Hours kickoff.
However, only Kampamba, Festus Mbewe and Idris Mbombo head to Algeria armed with that continental experience.
The stage is now set for striker Walter Bwalya to translate his prolific domestic form over the last three seasons at continental level starting this evening.
Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi is likely to keep faith in goalkeeper Moses Mapulanga including his defensive stalwarts Dieugo Apanane and John Mwengani.
Fred Tshimenga, Yannick Mulenda and Shadreck Musonda should be the key men from the middle of the park.
And defender Joseph Musonda is set for his first continental game back with Nkana since 2002 after initially missing out on his debut season in 2000 when he missed the registration deadline after his transfer from Kalulushi Modern Stars.
Meanwhile, Nkana will host Belouizdad at Nkana Stadium on March 17 with the winner over both legs advancing to the last 32 in April where they will battle losers from this month’s CAF Champions League phase for a place in May’s Confederation Cup group stage.