ALEX NJOVU, CECILIA ZULU, Lusaka
ZANACO coach Mumamba Numba says victory over Cameroonian side Coton Sport in the CAF Champions League Group D match has motivated his players ahead of next Friday’s clash against Al Ahly of Egypt.
Numba said the 1-0 win over Coton has put Zanaco in a good position to progress to the quarter-finals.
The Bankers are top in the group with 10 points, three better than Al Ahly, who lost 2-0 to Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca on Tuesday.
Victory over Al Ahly in Lusaka will see Zanaco advancing to the quarter-finals with a game to spare.
Zanaco will wrap up the group stage with an away trip to Wydad on July 7.
“This is a good result for us. The win has motivated us ahead of the next two remaining games in the competition. From the beginning, we knew that we would reach this far in the competition because we have young good players that are able to withstand any challenge,” said Numba in a post-match interview in Garoua on Wednesday.
Numba said his players are ready to challenge for continental glory.
Midfielder Saith Sakala was the hero finding the target in added time.
“This is a good motivation for us. The players are motivated and we are happy to record a win away from home,” Numba said.
Skipper Ziyo Tembo said: “We are not going to limit ourselves in this competition. We have very good players. We will take each game as it comes.”
And Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development Moses Mawere has hailed Zanaco’s flawless performance in the prestigious competition.
Mawere said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that he is impressed with Zanaco’s fighting spirit.
“I congratulate the team [Zanaco] for their impressive performance. What they have continued doing is making every Zambian happy. And I salute them for that. Zambia is a footballing nation and that is what people want to continue seeing,” said Mawere, who early this year criticised Zanaco for failing to score in the Champions League.
Mawere also urged Zesco United to remain focused despite Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to Angolan side Recreativo Libolo in the Confederation Cup Group C match.
Meanwhile Zesco skipper Jacob Banda says his team is under pressure to replicate and better last year’s exploits in the CAF Champions League where they reached the semi-finals, MULWANDA LUPIYA reports.
Banda, however, is upbeat the Ndola side will qualify for the quarter-finals in the Confederation Cup despite losing to Libolo.
Defeat left Zesco third in the standings with six points at par with Libolo, who have a better goal aggregate.
Sudanese side Al Hilal Ubayyid, who beat Egyptian outfit Smouha 2-1 at home, have seven points while the latter are on four.
In an interview on arrival from Angola at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola yesterday, Banda said Zesco will face Smouha with a positive mind.
“Of course we are under pressure because of the way we performed last season. People expect us to do more than what we did last season. I think the pressure is on us and we have to impress our fans and qualify for the quarter-finals,” Banda said.