ZESCO United take on Smouha of Egypt this evening in Alexandria in a make-or-break Group C game of their 2017 CAF Confederation Cup Group C campaign.
The 2016 CAF Champions League semi-finalists have struggled to stay on a straight course to qualify to the Confederation Cup quarterfinal.
Zesco are currently third in Group C on six points, two more than bottom placed Smouha and one behind leaders Al Hilal Obied of Sudan, heading into this evening’s penultimate pool match.
A defeat could just see Zesco’s hopes of a top two finish fade with Al Hilal Obied in action on Saturday against second placed CRD Libolo who have 6 points but with a better goal difference than the Ndola club.
The onus is therefore on Zesco to pick up anything less than a draw away in Egypt to get into their final Group C match at home against Obied on July 9 in Ndola.
Yes, it will be tough but we will try our best and to get a positive result for Zesco, striker Jesse Were said.
“It will be crucial for us because we know that without a positive result, it will be difficult for us to qualify to the quarterfinals.”
Were returns to the fold after missing Zesco’s 3-0 away loss at Libolo on June 20 due to injury.
He scored on his return last Saturday in Zesco’s 2-0 home win over Nkwazi in a league match and coach Zlatko Krmpotic will be praying his main striker finds his scoring touch on the road where they have yet to score in Group C.
Were is Zesco’s top scorer in the competition but has scored just one goal in Group C and interestingly, it came against Smouha in the first leg on May 13 in Ndola.
However, the pressure is further exacerbated on Zesco as a team which failed to collect a point in both their away Group C match after also losing away at Obied on May 24 where they were beaten 1-0.