Saturday Sep 11, 2021. 13:00
Zesco United return to continental action this Saturday after a season away when they visit Royal Leopards of Eswatini in a CAF Champions League preliminary round, first leg fixture.
The Zambian club missed out on the 2020/2021 continental campaign after failing to finish in the top four of the FAZ Super League in 2019.
Zesco also return under the new management of Mumamba Numba who must meet the clubs high standards of perennial league phase qualification in both continental competitions that dates back to 2016.
“We have come with the best squad that we can assemble looking at the players that we have and can only hope for the best when we meet Royal Leopards,” Numba said.
Numba hopes the Zesco rejuvenation project he has been mandated to oversee since replacing George Lwandamina exactly a year ago will continue to show strong growth at a higher level in the CAF Champions League.
Youngsters who made an impact during last season’s rebuilding process in particular striker Enock Sakala, defender John Chishimba and midfielder Chanda Mukuka will all be making their continental debut.
Added to that is the blend of experience in the form of Kenyan international goalkeeper Ian Otieno, defender Adrian Chama, midfielders John Chingandu and Kelvin Kampamba including strikers Jesse Were and Winston Kalengo.
Meanwhile, Zesco also hope to maintain their unbeaten record in four encounters against Eswatini opposition.
“We expect a very tough game looking at the opponents that we are playing. They are a very good side but we equally have a good side,” Numba said.
“I think we have the manpower that can get us the result here.”
The final leg is set for September 12 in Ndola.
Winner will play GD Sagrada Esperanca of Angola or Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum in next month’s pre-group stage.