From FELIX MALUNGA
in Abidjan, Ivory Coast –
AS Group A was blown wide open on Wednesday night after Egyptians, Al Ahly stunned Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 1-0 in Rabat, Zesco United coach ‘Chicken’ George Lwandamina insisted the Zambian envoys’ ultimate goal is to qualify to the CAF Champions League semi-finals.
Zesco battled to a 1-1 draw away at ASEC Mimosas in Ivory Coast on Wednesday, the result which put Lwandamina’s charges into joint leadership with Wydad on seven points.
However, the Moroccans still lead the table with a superior goal difference over Zesco.
After forcing a draw at Stade Robert Champroux here, Lwandamina, whose charges next face Al Ahly away in Egypt in two weeks’ time (August 12), said Zesco would fight hard to get the last four places – a first time for a Zambian club.
“Definitely, we are trying to get a semi-final place, that’s our ultimate goal,” he said in a post-match interview.
Lwandamina said he was pleased to at least get a point from Abidjan after failing to beat ASEC at their home.
“After conceding that goal, we tried (to attack) because our ultimate goal was that if we fail to get three points, we have to get one point and it paid off,” Lwandamina, whose charges equalised through Jackson Mwanza, said.
Despite the disappointing home draw, ASEC coach, Siaka Traore declined to concede that the journey could be over for the Ivorians and instead insisted that his charges still had a chance to reach the semi-finals.
Traore said luck has not been on ASEC’s side in the game but promised to fight hard to get maximum points away in Morocco in the next game.
“We didn’t have luck in this game. We will fight hard to get maximum points in Morocco (against Wydad),” he said.
However, John Toshack’s Wydad Casablanca will also target to reap three points against ASEC and erase the disappointing loss to Al Ahly.
Martin Jol’s Al Ahly, who holds the record of eight Champions League titles, will hope to claim the second three points on the trot when Zesco visit Alexandria on August 12. Al Ahly sneaked into third position on four points, same with ASEC but the Egyptians have a better goal difference. Meanwhile, the Zesco contingent is expected back home in Lusaka at lunch time after leaving Abidjan last night via Johannesburg, South Africa.