NKANA coach Beston Chambeshi has complained that fixture congestion is proving difficult for his semi-professional players to cope.
Chambeshi’s team is struggling in the local league but flying in the CAF Confederation cup where they have reached the quarter final for the first since 1994 when they reached the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League.
On Saturday, Nkana lost at home to whipping boys Lumwana Radiants leaving them stuck in eighth position in stream B of the transitional league and in danger of missing out on the CAF slot next season though they have three games in hand.
Nkana had been struggling for form since their 4-1 loss to Al Hilal in Khartoum.
They scraped a draw at MUZA, went on to dig deep to beat Circuit City 3-2 before losing on Saturday to determined Radiants.
In his post-match interview, Chambeshi said playing a fixture congestion of both the league and CAF games was proving difficult for his players’ physical conditioning.
“If you have seen the way the games are coming, it is not easy. We are playing Wednesday, and weekend but the other teams are playing [once a week], so it is not easy for us to cope up with the pace but otherwise all I can say is that we just need to psych the players to have working mentality otherwise the games have been hard on us. We need to work on our defence if we cannot score, it is better we draw 0-0. Now we are conceding that is where our worry is again,” Chambeshi said.
“It is not easy; the players we have are not all professionals. They are semi-professionals, they cannot play in such a [competitive] environment. This is where now FAZ can come in and help the team. They know we are defending the country. We need a breathing space so that the boys can come out. Otherwise it has been hectic for us, it is bringing a lot of pressure to the boys. We have to just look at the next game.”
Nkana’s rescheduled midweek game against Green Eagles has since been cancelled.
The Wusakili outfit host Tunisian giants CS Sfaxien on Sunday.
In other games, Nakambala Leopards got their first victory away from home when they defeated Kitwe United 1-0 in Kitwe.
“We are not just thinking of surviving, we are thinking of putting up a good performance so we can finish on a good note because over the past years we have been fighting relegation. But we have changed the mind-set of the players. They just need to work hard. I am happy we have won our first away game. Right now they are getting to know my philosophy and it is starting to work well, so far so good,” said coach Zeddy Saileti.
Zesco United recorded a 3-1 win over Green Buffaloes.
Prison Leopards recorded the first win of the season beating Mufulira Wanderers 1-0.
Power Dynamos beat MUZA 1-0, Green Eagles beat Forest 2-1, Circuity City lost 0-1 to Buildcon, Nkwazi and NAPSA Stars drew 0-0.