By KALUMIANA KALUMIANA and ELIAS CHIPEPO –
NKANA midfielder Kelvin Mubanga is in a race against time ahead of Saturday’s crucial 2014 CAF Champions League preliminary round, return leg clash against Mbabane Swallows in Kitwe after sustaining an injury.
The central midfielder sustained a knee injury during Tuesday afternoon training at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe just 24 hours after the team arrived from Swaziland.
Nkana coach Masauso Mwale said in an interview yesterday after morning training session at Nkana Stadium that the bench was hoping Mubanga will recover in time for the game.
“He sustained a knock during training on Tuesday afternoon after he slipped. We asked him to see the doctor before training today (Wednesdays) after we saw that he couldn’t make it,” Mwale said.
Mwale said Mubanga is the only doubt for the Swallows game after the midfielder played the full 90 minutes in last Sunday’s 2-nil first leg, away loss in Swaziland.
Mubanga watched from the stands as his team-mates trained on day two of Nkana’s build-up towards this weekend’s crucial return leg fixture.
Nkana need to beat Swallows 3-nil in Kitwe to advance to the first round of the competition.
And Chipolopolo coach Patrice Beaumelle said he was expecting a tough match but that Nkana should go through, especially that they will have the fans rallying them.
Beaumelle, however, urged Nkana to score as early as possible to put pressure on Swallows as they aim to get the three unanswered goals to sail through to the next stage.
“With the fans and the atmosphere in the stadium, I am very confident that Nkana can go through but it won’t be easy as they must try to score as fast as possible to put pressure on their opponents,” he said.
He attributed the 2-0 defeat to consciousness when playing away from home because there is to be stronger defence to avoid conceding goals which he said was basically what any coach can do.
Meanwhile, Swallows are due to arrive today after flying in from Johannesburg where they spent a night after driving to South Africa yesterday in the afternoon.