ZESCO United this afternoon kick off their campaign for the 2016 CAF Champions League against Al Ghazala Wau of South Sudan in a preliminary round, first leg match at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Meanwhile, Al Ghazala arrived yesterday afternoon at Simon Mwansa Kampwepwe International Airport in Ndola.
Despite the match being rescheduled from yesterday after the Sudanese side missed their flight on Thursday, George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina appears determined to grab a win this afternoon to keep the hope of going past the group stage alive.
Lwandamina who doubles as Chipolopolo coach had already declared his lads ready for the challenge.
The 2015 MTN/FAZ Super League champions have strengthened their squad to ensure they put up a good performance with the latest inclusion of Kenyan duo of Jesse Were and Antony Akum.
Goal poacher, Congolese born Idriss Mbombo is expected to give Al Ghazala a headache after his good show at the recently ended pre-season four team tournament in Lusaka.
Lwandamina will look for midfielder Cletus Chama to replicate his Rwanda CHAN tournament performance.
The Zesco coach said they were targeting victory at home to be in an advantageous position in the final leg.
“We will not underrate the Sudanese side. But our aim is to record a convincing win at home ahead of the second leg. The boys are ready for the task,” he said.
Meanwhile, Al Ghazala coach Elia Joseph Hassan said Zesco was a big side with experienced players compared to his lads.
“We are going to play a strong side. I am coming with a team of young players but focused on getting good results here. We are expecting a good game and definitely fair play. Zambians are passionate about football and hence expect a big turnout of the 12th player,” he said.
Lwandamina line-up would possibly have Jacob Banda in goal, Cletus Chama and Mwelwa Mwape on the left and right flanks respectively while Were and Mbombo will lead the front.
Zesco were last year booted out of the competition in the first round after losing 5-4 on penalities to AS Kaloum of Guinea. The teams’ tied 2-2 on aggregate after two legs.
Al Ghazala will host Zesco in the final leg on February 26 in Juba to decide who sails to the next round.