Wednesday Sep 22, 2021. 10:00
Zesco United embarks on the road to redemption on Wednesday when they kick-off their FAZ Super League title defence just days after their 2021/2022 CAF Champions League flop.
The nine-time Zambian champions suffered their first-ever preliminary stage exit from continental competition on September 18 despite beating Royal Leopards of Eswatini 2-1 at home in Ndola.
Zesco were ejected on away goals rule following a 2-2 aggregate result to see Leopards advance to the CAF Champions League pre-group round.
With no continental distractions, Zesco can now fully focus on domestic action when they host promoted Chambishi in a lunchtime kickoff of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Chambishi have made an unbeaten start to the season with two draws while Zesco start their catch-up race with two games in hand.
“Of course for Zesco United winning the league is a birthright. I think we are expected to win the championship and that is what we have to work on because we have squandered an opportunity to play in the CAF games,” Numba said.
“Everyone expected us to perform better than we have done this year so our job now is to fight hard so that we can successfully defend our title.”
The game could see Zesco’s new midfield signings Edward Lungu from Kitwe United and Dickson Chapa from Napsa Stars make their league debuts but another arrival Spencer Sautu is out for a month with a fractured arm.
“I am very positive that the team that we have is equal to the task and we will definitely defend the title,” Numba said.
The match is also set to rekindle old rivalries against a Chambishi side that Zesco was locked in a heated promotion race between 2000 and 2002 and also met in an all-second division final during the 2002 Coca Cola Cup that Chambishi won 2-1.
Chambishi then beat Zesco to promotion at the end of the 2002 season but were demoted in 2009.
Zesco on the other hand secured their top flight spot at the close 2003 and have never looked back since to become the second most successful Zambian club that has won nine league titles to date.