ZESCO United will this afternoon be looking for a first CAF Champions’ League group win when they host Egyptian giants Zamalek SC at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The Zambian champions have had a slow start to the group stages in this year’s campaign drawing in Angola and losing at home to neighbouring giants TP Mazembe in the second game, requiring them to win today for them to have a realistic chance of making it to the knockout stages of the CAF’s premier club competition.
Mazembe has had a bullish start to the campaign, winning all the two first games and could easily confirm their knockout status if they beat Pedro this weekend.
Both Zesco and Zamalek are in desperate need of points this afternoon having started badly.
Coach George Lwandamina said yesterday at a pre-match press conference that the importance of winning today’s game could not be over emphasized.
“We attach so much importance to this game, we did not do well in Angola and Mazembe. If we have to stay abreast in this competition we have to win tomorrow’s [today] game. We have no option,” Lwandamina said.
“We have to work, to sweat to get a victory, we have done so much from the time we played TP Mazembe.”
In 2016, prior to reaching the semi-finals of the competition, before they were eliminated by eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Zesco overcame the Arabs’ hurdle along the way with both Lwandamina and his captain Jacob Banda believing that even this year, the 2016 feat could be repeated beginning this afternoon.
“Every situation is great for us, like you have referred to 2016, we still have a team that can give a smile on every Zambian…we are hoping that we will rekindle our old memories to beat this team. Zamalek are a good team, luck hasn’t been with them in the recent past,” said Lwandamina.
Banda said the attitude of players in camp ahead of the crunch match was good, adding that his colleagues were focused on producing a good result.
“We don’t look at the teams that we are playing; we try to do what others are not doing. The attitude of the players [is] good, we just have to win this game. Not just this game but our aim is to go far in this competition.”