MUKWIMA CHILALA writes
TWELVE time Zambian league champions, Nkana FC have topped group C of the CAF confederation’s cup after three rounds of matches played so far.
Going into the last round of 16, Nkana were pitted as underdogs by bookmakers, soccer pundits and their own opponents mainly because of their recent below form coupled with the loss of key number of players due to injury, suspensions and departures.
The Kitwe outfit started its first round of matches in a sluggish manner after being humiliated to a 0-2 loss at the hands of local arch rivals ZESCO United before they redeemed themselves by beating Al Hillal of Sudan 2-1 at home.
Nkana have also not been convincing on the local front after registering two draws against Lumwana Radiants and Forest Rangers as well as a farfetched loss at the hands of their rivals Power Dynamos.
“I’m happy with the way the boys came out in todays game after suffering from a loss in the last game against Power Dynamos, this result just shows that yes we can fight and play at any level,” said Nkana coach Beston Chambeshi.
Chambeshi said it was not easy to maintain the momentum as his team has a congested of fixtures emanating from the domestic league and the confederations Cup.
Sunday’s 3-1 win over Ghanaian team Asante Kotoko shot the 2018 Zambian super league runners up Nkana onto the summit of the log after their other group opponents ZESCO United and Al Hillal failed to pick up maximum points when they played out to a 1-1 draw at Levy Mwanawasa stadium on Sunday evening.
Nkana top group C with six points followed by Al Hillal on 4 while ZESCO and Asante Kotoko complete the group on 4 and 3 points respectively.
Nkana travel to Kumasi, Ghana on the March 3 to face tricky Kotoko at their fortress Baba Yara stadium , the same vanue where they beat ZESCO 2-1 last week.
ZESCO will also be away to Al Hillal in Sudan where they will be looking to overturn their first leg stalemate in order to enhance their chances of progressing to the next round of matches.
Nkana last made it in the group stages of the competition in 2014 before they were eliminated at the same stage while ZESCO have for the last 10 years been perpetual participants of the either the confederarations Cup or Champions league with their best record being a 2016 semifinal elimination by eventual winners Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.