…Zambian champions make history as they storm elite CAF league
ZESCO United have sealed their place in the semi-finals of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League – making history as the first Zambian outfit to do so.
The Zambian league champions’ qualification follows the 2-1 late victory Wydad Casablanca of Morocco inflicted on Ivorian side Asec Mimosas on Sunday night.
Zesco, who host Casablanca on August 24 in the last group stage game, qualified to the semi-finals on a head-to-head count.
Zesco have eight points and are not threatened by third place Al Ahly on five points, due to a better head-to-head count even if they lose to Casablanca in the final match.
They beat Ahly 3-2 in the first leg and forced a 2-2 draw in the return leg played last Saturday in Cairo. Asec has four points and a win over Ahly in the last game will only push them to seven points.
Zesco executive officer Justine Mumba confirmed the qualification and hailed the team for the hard work.
“We are through to the semi-finals of the CAF tournament. But the team will remain focused to win the last game against Casablanca to finish on top,” he said.
Former Zesco coach Wedson Nyirenda commended the team for the resilience to ensure they made a maiden semi-final appearance.
“Every journey starts with one step. It started a long-time ago and on the way they stumbled, were insulted, praised; but kept moving on, perfecting. Today, fruits are coming. Getting to the semis of CAF Champions League is not a child’s play. You have made us all proud Zambians,” Nyirenda wrote on his Facebook page.
Zesco may face Group B winners Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa if they lose to Casablanca. But victory will see Zesco face runners-up between Enyimba of Nigeria and Egyptian giants Zamalek.
Zamalek and Enyimba were yesterday scheduled to know their fate