By KALUMIANA KALUMIANA and ELIAS CHIPEPO –
NKANA today face the daunting task of eliminating Zamelek to reach the CAF 2014 Champions League lucrative group stage, while Zesco United fight for survival to remain in the Confederations Cup when they host Medeama in Ndola.
A win or a scoring draw at the Air Force Defence Stadium in Cairo will be enough for Nkana to end the jinx of five eliminations suffered at the hands of Zamalek dating as way back as 1984.
For Zesco, the side need to score three unanswered goals to overcome Medeama to remain in the competition and advance into the pre-group knockout stage.
Zamalek v Nkana
It will be a story of ‘familiar foes’ since this marks the sixth meeting between the two clubs in the CAF interclub competitions with the ‘White Knights’ emerging winners in all previous five encounters, the Zambian side are seeking a new chapter of history when the two sides cross swords in Cairo.
“I know we’ve had a bad run against Zamalek but that was in the past. Now we have a new team with a new vision. They are a tactically disciplined team. We were the better side in the first leg. We just have to cause an upset in their territory with forcing some tactical changes in the return leg,” Nkana coach Masautso Mwale told Cafonline.com.
Mwale will be hoping Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba can be at his best and score those needed goals and the experience of Billy Mwanza will come in handy, especially that Nkana will be without the suspended duo of Donashano Malama and Christopher Munthali.
Zamalek coach Ahmed ‘Mido’ Hossam remains upbeat that his charges will scale the hurdle having done so well in the past matches.
“We have done very well in the past. Our game is about attacking football and we will do that on Sunday. Conceding no goal in five games is a great achievement for us, and we will build on that to reach the group stage”, Mido said.
Zesco v Medeama
Zesco face an uphill battle to overturn a 2-0 loss suffered last Sunday at Essipong Stadium in Sekondi and must score three goals without reply to make a dramatic comeback to advance to the pre-group knockout round set for late April.
“Definitely, it is the wish of everyone to get a good result. Zesco is a very big team on their day they can surprise anyone. We have lost but not out, so the question of scoring three goals or more than three goals is out, we still have another half to go,” Zesco coach George Lwandamina said.
Zesco must, however, improve in attack today after Winston Kalengo and Jackson Mwanza misfired in the first leg together with Lazarus Kambole who had their best chance with a close range shot saved in the first leg.
But Lwandamina will be without Chileshe Kangwa who sustained an injury in the first leg but will also be hoping for another inspired performance from goalkeeper Lameck Nyangu who frustrated Medeama in the first leg with some daring saves.
Medeama welcome back key striker Kabiru Moro and top scorer on two goals who missed the first leg due to suspension. Captain Joseph Tetteh-Zutah said Kabiru’s return is a big plus and that the team was certain of reaching the knockout run.
But the biggest threat will come from their 2014 CHAN star Theo Anoboah who gave Zesco’s backline a torrid time after coming on in the second half and also won a penalty.
“We are here for a win we are not here for a draw our coach, our staff and our fans are all waiting for a win so we are definitely going out there for a win,” Tetteh-Zutah said.