(By Darious Kapembwa in Beira, Mozambique)
NKANA returns to the CAF Champions League today hoping to do better than last year when they failed to progress at the first hurdle in the CAF Confederation Cup. And Green Buffaloes host Al Hillal Juba of South Sudan, looking to overcome last year’s embarrassment of being eliminated in the first round. The Kitwe giants already have a challenge to cope with high humid conditions when they face Mozambican top side UD Songo in the coastal town of Beira.
But both coach Beston Chambeshi and captain Walter Bwalya believe the team that was eliminated in the first preliminary round last year is different from this year’s team.
“I can only promise our supporters that they will be happy. We will make them happy. Yes, it is hot here but even Songo don’t play here often so we will manage. We will work hard. Last year was Confederation Cup, this year it’s Champions League, the biggest competition in club football in Africa so we will work hard here so that we kill off the return match,” Bwalya said ahead of the match.
Focus will be on how Chambeshi uses some of his new signings like Kenya international midfielder Duncan Otieno and left back Laison Thole.
It will also be interesting to see how the front lines-up without the services of Idris Mbombo who left the club at the end of the season having won golden boot with 26 goals.
Chambeshi however declared his charges ready for the clash.
“Yes, we are ready for the match. The boys are ready and our training camp in South Africa helped a lot. Everyone is looking forward to the match. We have to do well and I trust the boys will work hard in this first leg,” said Chambeshi.
The home team on the other hand can be dangerous playing at home having beaten giants TP Mazembe of DRC here last year but still bowed out after the Congolese overturned the result in Lubumbashi.
In the other Continental Cup game involving a Zambian team today, soldiers Green Buffaloes host Al Hillal Juba of South Sudan looking to overcome last year’s embarrassment when they were also eliminated in the first round.