By FELIX MALUNGA and KALUMIANA KALUMIANA –
EGYPTIAN giants, Al Ahly have declared that they are in Zambia to qualify to the 2014 CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals despite Nkana posing a threat to their aspirations.
Meanwhile, Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi said he is happy with the team’s performance in an international friendly against DR Congo side, TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on Tuesday.
Ahly assistant coach, Wael Gomaa said while they expected a tough match against Nkana, the Egyptians were determined to qualify to the semi-finals from Group B.
Speaking on arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola yesterday, Gomaa, the former Egypt and Ahly long-serving skipper, said Nkana showed that they were a good side when they beat Tunisian giants, Etoile du Sahel but the Egyptians were hoping for the best.
Gomaa also said Ahly had made four changes to the team that would face Nkana in Kitwe tomorrow and expected Burkina Faso midfielder, Moussa Idan, who missed the flight to Zambia because of visa hitches, would link up with the squad today.
Delegation leader, Hesham El Amry said Ahly boasts of a rich history in African football which they hope to preserve when they take on Nkana.
“As Ahly, we’ve a big history and we depend on this generous history for success in the Confederation Cup. We respect Zambian football. Nkana are a good side. As head of delegation, I hope Ahly will win this match,” El Amry said.
The 33-member Ahly delegation was met on arrival at the airport by Egyptian Ambassador to Zambia, Ragai Tawfik Nasr, FAZ committee member, Pivoty Simwanza and some Nkana officials.
Meanwhile, Chambeshi said in an interview after yesterday’s training session at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe that they were positive signs from the friendly against Mazembe.
“We are happy with our preparation for this Saturday’s game,” Chambeshi said.
“So far I am happy with the response from the team and in the way they played in Lubumbashi we are moving in the right direction.”
The Kitwe side was using the friendly against Mazembe to prepare for tomorrow’s 2014 CAF Confederation Cup Group B match against Ahly at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe.
Mazembe beat Nkana 2-0 in the main match in Lubumbashi while the Zambians won 1-0 in the first game.
Claude Bwalya scored Nkana’s goal in match one while Ousmane Cisse and Given Singuluma were on target in Mazembe’s win in match two.
Chambeshi said defender Billy Mwanza and midfielder Kelvin Mubanga had recovered from injuries sustained last week.
However, Chambeshi said defender Derrick Mwansa and striker Festus Mbewe who missed the trip to Mazembe were still sidelined.
“Derrick had a headache when we played Napsa Stars over the weekend and Festus has a groin problem but he might resume training this afternoon (Wednesday),” Chambeshi said.
Meanwhile, Nkana winger Shadreck Musonda is suspended.
Nkana club secretary Ken Mwansa said that Musonda was the only player suspended for the Al Ahly clash.
“Shadreck is the only player suspended and will miss just one game, this one against Al Ahly,” Mwansa said.
Nkana are third in Group B on four points, four behind leaders Al Ahly after four matches played heading into their penultimate fixture in the league phase of the tournament.