Zambian soccer champions target CAF league semis
OUR ultimate goal is to reach the CAF Champions League semi-finals and we will not relax till the mission is accomplished, says Zesco United coach George Lwandamina.
Lwandamina was speaking in a post-match interview after Zesco drew 1-1 with Ivorian side Asec Mimosas in Abidjan on Wednesday to maintain second spot in Group A with seven points, but trail leaders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco by a goal.
Wydad on Wednesday lost 1-0 to Egyptian giants Al Ahly, allowing Zesco to close up the gap on the Moroccans who beat them 2-0 in Casablanca two weeks ago.
Lwandamina said the boys played according to plan and made sure they at least grabbed a point on Ivorian soil.
He described Wednesday’s match as tough but praised his players for putting up a strong fight.
“It was not an easy game; the Ivorians’ target was to upset the 3-1 defeat they suffered in Ndola but we defended well.
‘‘After conceding that goal we tried to come back because our aim was to win, but if we fail, then it should be a draw, and it paid off. Our ultimate goal is to get the semi-final place, hence we will not become complacent,” he said.
Lwandamina said all the teams in Group A had a chance to qualify for the semi-finals and Zesco needed to work extra hard to win the two remaining games.
“We share seven points with Casablanca while Al Ahly and Asec Mimosas have four points each, so the group is still open. We have to work harder to win the two remaining games. I believe the boys will deliver again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Asec Mimosa coach Traore Siaka said it was unfortunate that his lads could not collect the three points despite playing well.
Siaka said Asec could have won the game in the first half but wasted several chances and allowed Zesco to equalise.
“We had the game in our hands but threw it away in the second half. The boys started well but lacked accuracy on target. This was an important game which we needed to win. We now have to win the other two games to qualify,” he said.
Zesco will face Al Ahly on August 12 in Cairo before hosting Casablanca two weeks later at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.