CAF Confederation Cup: Nkana seek to end away drought

Published on: 02 March 2019

Nkana’s Group C away credentials will be in in the dock on Sunday in Ghana when they visit Asante Kotoko in Kumasi.

The Zambian club are the surprise leaders after three matches on six points, three more than bottom placed Kotoko and another two adrift of compatriots Zesco United who are tied on points with second placed Al Hilal of Sudan.

But Nkana’s points both came in back-to-back home victories at their Kitwe fortress over Hilal and Kotoko whom they beat 2-1 on February 13 and 3-1 on February 24 respectively.

With three games left to play, Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi is under no illusions of the challenges ahead on the business end of the race where they have two away matches to deal with.

“We are injury free and the boys are looking forward to this game. I am happy with the morale in the team so we are all ready for the game on Sunday,” Chambeshi said.

“We cannot say we are going to defend. We have to play attacking football but we also have to be cautious in defence in Know Kotoko will play an open game.”

But Chambeshi has had to make some adjustments to his defence where he will be missing Ghana-born Richard Ocran and Kenyan international Musa Mohammed.

Ocran was sent off in the first leg win over Kotoko while Mohammed accrued his second yellow card in that match.

Furthermore, both players will now serve two-match bans after earning their second suspensions in this seasons CAF interclub competition and will only return for Nkana’s final group match away to Al Hilal on March 17.

Given Sinyangwe and veteran Joseph Musonda are Chambeshi’s experienced options while Total 2017 U20 AFCON winning defender Moses Nyondo is the another after making his continental debut as a stoppage time substitute in the first leg.

Meanwhile, Nkana will also be battling to avoid Zesco’s fate in Kumasi a fortnight ago where they fell 2-1 to the two-time African champions.

Defeat there could end Nkana’s brief reign at the summit of Group C since replacing Zesco there last weekend.

The pressure is on Nkana who have not won away in continental competition since November 28, 2018 when they beat UD Songo of Mozambique 2-1 in a 2018/2019 Total CAF Champions League preliminary round, first leg tie in Beira.

Since then, Nkana have lost two and drawn one match on the road in both competitions.

But Chambeshi is banking on striker Ronald Kampamba, who bagged a brace against Kotoko, and Fred Tshimenga, who is enjoying a revival this season after struggling with injury in 2018, to continue from where they left off last Sunday as Nkana also battle to end Zambian clubs 47 -year-old winless jinx in Ghana.