By MULWANDA LUPIYA
NKANA coach Beston Chambeshi says midfielder Simon Bwalyaâ€™s suspension from Saturdayâ€™s decisive Confederation Cup Group B match against Ivorian side Sewe Sport is a blow.
Chambeshi said in Kitwe on Monday that Bwalya is an influential player.
â€œSimon is an important player for us and we will miss him. It is not his fault and it is not our fault but we have a replacement for him,â€ he said.
Bwalya is suspended after accruing two yellow cards.
Chambeshi said he will assemble a team that will overcome Sewe.
Nkana left for Abidjan yesterday.
â€œWe started our preparations on a good note for this weekendâ€™s game. We have to prepare for Sewe and I am happy the team is intact. Billy [Mwanza] and Ronald [Kampamba] are back in the system,â€ Chambeshi said.
Nkana are second in Group B with seven points, one behind Al Ahly, Sewe have six points and Etoile du Sahel have five.
A draw is enough for Nkana to proceed to the semi-finals.
And Nkana players are confident of beating Sewe Sport.
Midfielder Donashano Malama said in an interview in Kitwe on Monday that the team is travelling to Abidjan for a win.
â€œThere is nothing like going for a draw. We just need to go there and win. All the players know what we want and we are ready for battle,â€ Malama said.
Defender Billy Mwanza said the players will do their best to beat Sewe.
â€œThe ball is in our hands and this is the last game of the group. We need to give all our best. We are ready and we are going to fight until the last whistle,â€ Mwanza said.
Skipper Sydney Kalume said qualifying for the semi-finals is a must.
Striker Ronald â€˜Sate Sateâ€™ Kampamba said the team will work hard to beat Sewe.
Kampamba has scored two goals in the Confederation Cup.
Midfielder Claude Bwalya said Nkana have come a long way and qualifying for the semi-finals is top on the agenda.
Dribbling wizard Shadreck Musonda said Zambians should expect a good result.
And Zambia Sports Fans Association patron Peter Makembo yesterday prayed for the players and officials before departure at Lusakaâ€™s Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
Makembo told the 12-time Super Division champions to believe in themselves as they prepare for the decisive encounter.
The team is led by Football Association of Zambia treasurer Kelvin Mutafu.
By MULWANDA LUPIYA