Saturday Sep 11, 2021. 11:00
Red Arrows admit the James Chamanga factor will be crucial as they embark on their 2021/2022 CAF Confederation Cup campaign this weekend against Young Buffaloes of Eswitini in a preliminary round, first leg home fixture at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
Arrows return to continental competition for the first time since 2012 when they made a preliminary round exit in the same competition to another Eswatini club Royal Leopards.
One of the key architects’ of Arrows’ African return is veteran striker and 2012 AFCON winner Chamanga.
The 41-year-old was Arrows’ top scorer last season and his 11 goals propelled the 2004 Zambian champions to a third place finish that secured their CAF Confederation Cup qualification.
“There is enough encouragement from the technical staff and the experienced players that is helping the younger ones to blend in and gel together,” Arrows’ Chipolopolo defender Benedict Chepeshi said ahead of Saturday’s clash against Young Buffaloes.
“It is really important and it has really helped us from the previous season and coming into this season having experienced players like James Chamanga.
“He has been very encouraging in helping us move from our difficult position to having that confidence in the game.”
Chamanga has finally been rewarded with CAF Confederation Cup qualification after the mixed emotions of the 2019/2020 season when he won the FAZ Golden Boot with 16 goals at the age of 40.
However, Chamanga’s exploits that season were still not enough for Arrows to qualify for continental football after the Lusaka club finished a disappointing 10th.
This Saturday, Arrows will be hoping the old master Chamanga’s influence will fuel them further to make their CAF Confederation Cup group stage debut.