True to their word, Zambia’s representative in the CAF Champions League, Zesco United are not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to adequately prepare for the competition and have initiated a four-club pre-season international tournament to be played in Ndola.
The power utility company sponsored club has invited top notch clubs to participate in the event including Tanazania’s Azam and MTN/FAZ 2015 super league runners up Zanaco while the fourth club will be named after consultation.
Zanaco have expressed their happiness at being invited and have maintained that they will also use the tournament to comtinue their preparations for the CAF Confederations Cup competition.
The tournament will be played on a round robin basis and the bankers have vowed to put up a gallant fight and win the tournament as a sign of their commitment to fully prepare for the continental competition. The tournament kicks off on January 23 and runs until January 26 at Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola. Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba said the tournament will help gauge how far his players have come in pre-season training, ahead of their 2016 league and Confederation Cup assignments.
“It is very important in the sense that it will give us a good picture in terms of fitness and coordination because so far we have not played any pre-season friendlies yet,” Numba said from Chipata in Eastern province where Zanaco is holding a two-week pre-season training camp.
“We are playing two training games over the week but playing international fixtures next week will show us how the new players are fusing into the team.”
Among the new faces at Zanaco for the 2016 season is Zambia defender Aaron Katebe, who has returned home after a brief but unsuccessful stint at Moroccan club Maghreb Tetoun, and midfielder Richard Kasonde who has joined the Bankers from Nkana. Zanaco enjoy a preliminary round bye in the Confederation Cup and will enter the competition in the first round where they await the winner of the preliminary round clash between Harare City of Zimbabwe and AS Adema of Madagascar.
The Zambian club will be away in the first leg during the weekend of March 11-13 before hosting their opponents on March 19 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.