ZAMBIA’S 2014 CAF Champions League flag-bearers, Nkana yesterday left for their battlefront in Swaziland ahead of Sunday’s tricky preliminary round, first leg against Mbabane Swallows with coach Masautso Mwale urging the nation to believe in the team.
A 25-member delegation led by Football Association of Zambia treasurer, Kelvin Mutafu left on a 09:00 hours South African Airlink flight from Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola.
Mwale said Nkana were ready for the Swallows challenge and that the players were set to represent Zambia well in Africa’s prestigious club competition.
He appealed to Zambians to rally behind the MTN Premier Division League champions and believe in their abilities to do the nation proud.
Mwale said the 18 players he was taking for the Swaziland assignment were injury-free and raring to go.
Nkana captain, Sydney Kalume said the team would fight hard and ensure victory was attained at Somhlolo Stadium on Sunday.
Kalume, however, predicted a tough match, saying it would be suicidal for Nkana to underrate Swallows at their backyard.
Striker Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba said being his first time to play continental club football, he hoped to make an impact and leave a mark.
On whether his aim to was to score against Swallows on Sunday, an otherwise shy Kampamba said: “Everyone in our team is capable of scoring. We will work hard and probably score.”
Veteran defender, Billy Mwanza said his experience in continental football plus the existing bond in the team would help Nkana in the match.
Mwanza, who had already been to Swaziland with his former club Zesco United on a continental assignment which the Zambian team won 3-0, said with the help from God, it could be easy for Nkana on Sunday.
He, however, said everybody in the team was thinking positively about the Swaziland outing and that Nkana needed to give out its best performance to succeed.
Mutafu said being delegation leader, he would ensure all precautions were taken into consideration so that the team was not distracted from its core business in Swaziland.
The team that was seen off by Nkana vice-chairperson Patrick Ndhlovu has;
Goalkeepers: Rabson Muchelenganga and Charles Mweemba;
Defenders: Christopher Munthali, Billy Mwanza, Donashano Malama, Maybin Chishimba, Masautso Zimba, Derrick Mwansa;
Mifielders: Sydney Kalume, Frank Chibuye, Claude Bwalya, Simon Bwalya, Kelvin Mubanga, Shadreck Musonda;
Strikers: Ronald Kampamba, Francis Kombe, Jimmy Ndhlovu and Lottie Nyimbili.
And KALUMIANA KALUMIANA reports from Ezulwini in Swaziland that Mbabane Swallows coach, Hlope Nyanga has said they are not scared of Kampamba’s goal scoring exploits and are hoping for a giant-killing act over Nkana this Sunday.
Kampamba is Nkana’s tramp card heading into this weekends first leg after scoring 18 goals for his club last season plus three more for Zambia on international duty and is firm favourite for the 2013 Player of the Year Award.
Swallows host Nkana on Sunday in a CAF Champions League preliminary round, first leg match at Somhlolo Stadium.
Nyanga said in an interview yesterday that it will be interesting to beat a team with a big reputation like Nkana who have never lost to Swazi opposition.
“I admire his abilities as a player but that is not to say that we will not try and unsettle him,” Nyanga said.
“So ours is to motivate and not be afraid of anyone and he is not a threat at all.”
Nyanga said he was also aware that Nkana have never lost to Swazi opponents but that lessons learnt from last year’s elimination in the same competition at the same stage at the hands of Zanaco has left them older and wiser.
“It will be a giant-killer because I don’t remember any team from Swaziland winning against Nkana in particular,” Nyanga said.