By RONALD CHAWE –
TOP spot at stake as Zesco United square off with Recreativo Do Libolo in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup group C match at the Levy Mwanawasa this afternoon.
Pressure is on the home side to make amends after suffering a surprise loss last match day away to Al Hilal Al Ubayyid of Sudan leaving the group wide open.
The Libolo go in today’s game having warmed up with a 3-0 win in Girabola against Ante Recreativo Caala on Wednesday compared to the Zambians who were held to a 0-0 stalemate by Zanaco and have experienced a drought of six winless games in the league.
That will count for nothing as Zesco have an imperious home record in CAF competition as they remain unbeaten since 2006.
Zesco coach Tenant Chembo has no worries in terms of team selection apart from John Ching’andu who is sidelined by injury.
A win for either side in this encounter will help them move to the top of the group on six points if other result go in their favour in the fixture involving Smouha SC of Egypt who entertained Al Hilal Al Ubayyid of Sudan last evening with both teams on three points as well.
Chembo, who talked about the significant of CAF Confederation Cup tournament to both the club and the sponsors said recording a win in today’s match would be a best gesture of joining the club head coach Zlatiko Krmpotic in mourning his departed father.
“Everyone knows the legacy which we created for ourselves in this competition last year and as a club, we are aiming to surpass our own record by going a step further in this year’s tournament. The team is ready for this encounter and everyone wants to do it for our coach,” Chembo said.
Zesco last year reached the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League and are aiming to reach the finals of the second tier of the competition.
Chembo has to stick with captain of the side Jacob Banda in goal, with Daut Musekwa, Fackson Kapumbu,Ben Adamah Banh and Odiahimbo Owino expected to marshal the defense to protect Banda.
Veteran Kondwani Mtonga, Anthony Akumu and hard tacking Misheck Chaila whoever will be summoned will anchor the midfield.
In absence of Ching’andu, the coach has variety of choices of wingers in Dave Daka, Lazorous Kambole and ‘Tozizi’Mwape Mwelwa who would support Jackson Jesse Were, Idriss Mbombo or fit again Jackson Mwanza upfront.
And speaking upon arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola via a chartered plane Libolo coach Vaz Pinto said his club has enough data regarding Zesco matches in both
Zambian league and CAF Confederation Cup.
He said history was made from breakings grounds and that his side is here on a mission and were not scared of the host’s home record.
“We believe that will do a good match here and come out with good results. We are here to try and do our best. We know they are a good team with good players and coach but we are in the competition for our own merit, so we are here to try and come out with good results,” he said.
He said there is no team whether in the champion’s league or confederation cup which is not beatable and they would treat Zesco with respect.