VICTOR KUMWENDA, Lusaka
ZANACO will tonight target defying the football hierarchy when they face Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League group stage match at Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria.
Egypt and North Africa at large has not been good hunting grounds for Zanaco and other Zambian clubs over the years.
Zanaco were battered 6-1 on aggregate by Tunisian side Esperance in the 2007 CAF Champions League first round and lost 4-1 over two legs to another Tunisian outfit, Gabisien, in the Confederation Cup first round last year.
Al Ahly have a record eight CAF Champions League titles and several other continental trophies making them favourites to carry the day tonight.
But football is not won by records but on the pitch and Zanaco have reason to believe that they could cause an upset.
Zesco United beat Al Ahly 3-2 in a CAF Champions League group stage match in Ndola and drew 2-2 in Cairo and, with self -belief, Zanaco could make history.
Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba has vowed to break the losing jinx.
If there is one thing which gives Numba hope, it is Zanaco’s prolific scoring record this season.
They have scored 14 times in the Super Division.
“We respect Al Ahly for what they have achieved but we do not fear them. They are a big club with enormous following but we will give them their value for money,” Numba said.
Numba will hand Ghanaian Atram Kwame and Felix Nyaende the responsibility of getting goals.
Kwame has netted once in the competition while new recruit Nyaende opened his account for the Bankers in last Sunday’s 4-1 win over Nakambala Leopards in a Super Division Week Five match in Lusaka.
In case the two fail to tick, Kennedy Musonda and Adamson Mulao might be introduced to dismantle the Al Ahly defence of Bassem Ali, Mohamed Naguib, Rami Rabia and Ahmed Fathi.
Saith Sakala, Augustine Mulenga, Ernest Mbewe and Richard Kasonde will be pulling strings in midfield in a 4:4:2 formation.
Numba will maintain faith in Toaster Nsabata in goal with skipper Ziyo Tembo, George Chilufya, Taonga Bwembya and Zimiseleni Moyo lining up in defence.
Red Devils coach Hossam el-Badry has implored his players to overcome Zanaco.
“They [Zanaco] are a side with great talent. I have watched some of their games and I know they are going to be a tough opponent. At this level all teams are good, and everyone wants to qualify to the next stage,” el-Badry told CAF.com.
El-Badry will rely on Amr Gamal, Souleymane Coulibaly and Junior Ajayi for victory.
The match will kick off at 19:00 hours.