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Swallows soar over Zanaco

 

(By Tobias Phiri and Vera Phiri)

WE shall again plan for Zanaco going into the second leg of the CAF Champions League, says Mbabane Swallows coach Thabo Vilakati.

And Zesco United coach Tenant Chembo says his team is still in the game.

It was a mixed bag of results for COSAFA clubs in the African Champions League last night with Swallows providing the surprise result away in Zambia.

Swallows transferred last year’s giant-killing spree in the Confederation Cup to this year’s Champions League and took a giant step towards becoming the first club from the tiny kingdom to reach the group phase after victory over Zanaco.

Swallows came from behind to score through Felix Badenhorst’s header in the 55th minute and Richard McCreesh’s 87th minute winner, beating Zanaco 2-1 at Lusaka’s Nkoloma stadium.

Striker Felix Nyaende missed a stoppage time penalty that would have given the lacklustre Zambians a draw after Chavda Maisha had opened the scoring in the 40th minute.

It is the first time Zambia has had two representatives in the Champions League but their chances of having a side in the group phase look slim after Zesco United, who are without a coach, lost 1-0 in Ndola to ASEC Abidjan.

Speaking after the game, Vilakati said they had planned to defend and attack on counters.

“Hats off to my team, they stuck to the game plan. Zanaco are a hard nut to crack especially at home. We had a plan to play a reinforced defence so that we can get them on counter attacks or breaker attacks and eventually they cracked, especially in the second half,” Vilakati said.

“They [Zanaco] are a very good side and we are not going to relax because we know that in the second leg they will come at us [but] we will have a plan for them.”

But Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba said his team was capable of getting a favourable result in the return leg and get to the next stage.

“It was a very tough game, we were playing a very experienced team, it is not a team to underrate. We played better in the first half, the second half we did not do much,” Numba said.

“We need to work hard as we go for the return leg. We have a team that can turn the tables as we go to Swaziland. We just have to get back in training and prepare so that we can see how the team can go and play that side.”

Zanaco travel to Swaziland for the second leg scheduled for March 17.

Meanwhile, Chembo said the team accounted itself very well.

“We are still in the game, we are not out. The performance of the team was very well, unfortunately, we didn’t score. Asec Mimosas is a beatable team and we shall come back in the return game. The team accounted itself very well, despite conceding a goal in the first half of the game. The team played for a positive result, but every game has its own setbacks. We will go to Ivory Coast with the right altitude,” he said.

Chembo further assured fans that Zesco United will bounce back especially that ASEC has recorded a narrow score line.

The next game will be played in Ivory Coast on March 17

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