Nkana given a thunderous welcome at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport

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NKANA defender, Christopher Munthali swarmed by fans on arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola yesterday. Picture by FELIX MALUNGA
NKANA defender, Christopher Munthali swarmed by fans on arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola yesterday. Picture by FELIX MALUNGA

ZAMBIAN champions, Nkana were yesterday given a thunderous welcome at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola after a stunning 2-1 away win over Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) of Uganda in the CAF Champions League.
Nkana’s 4-3 aggregate victory over KCCA moved the record 12-time league champions a step closer to the lucrative group stage.
Hundreds of Nkana fans flooded the airport grounds, chanting and blowing trumpets as the legendary song ‘Nalelo ee ba Nkana bawina’ was blaring from the speakers of the vehicles.
Business virtually came to a standstill at the airport as the Nkana players and officials, who arrived on a lunchtime Kenya Airways flight, emerged from the terminal building.
The fans applied some white baby powder on the heads of players as they made their way to the team bus.
As for Nkana cult hero, Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba, he was lifted shoulder high by an ecstatic crowd and tossed him around before allowing the 2013 Zambian top scorer to board the bus.
Later the fans escorted the team in a convoy to Kitwe, causing a traffic jam.
Coach, Masautso Mwale, who was swarmed by a crowd, declared that Nkana were back on the continental football map and were now targeting to claim the scalp of Egyptian giants, Zamalek in the second round of Africa’s most prestigious club competition.
Mwale, however, said the five-time African champions had the pedigree in the continental competition just like Nkana and promised a good game to the Zambian football fraternity.
“Nkana is back! It will be exciting for the boys to face Zamalek. Zamalek has the pedigree in this competition equally Nkana has the pedigree. It’s good for Zambian football to bring back teams like Zamalek. We’re rekindling Zambian football,” Mwale declared.
Despite predicting a tough clash when the two teams meet next weekend, he said Nkana would be equal to the task.
Mwale said Nkana, who cut short KCCA’s fairytale run in the tournament, were ready to go all the way up to the final of the Champions League where the eventual winner was assured of $1.5 million top prize.
Goals from Claude Bwalya and Christopher Munthali secured Nkana’s 2-1 passage at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole, Kampala.
Nkana skipper, Sydney Kalume said the players were ready for the Zamalek challenge and that there was nothing special about the 11-time Egyptian Premier League winners.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) committee member, Lee Kawanu was full of praise of the tactics Mwale used to eject KCCA at the weekend.
Kawanu, who was delegation leader, said Nkana were on top of their game now and capable of shocking the Egyptians.
He also said Nkana and Zesco United’s progression in their respective continental competitions was testimony that the local league was improving.
Nkana will host Zamalek next Saturday before heading to Cairo for the return leg on March 30.
Zesco beat Ferroviario da Beira of Mozambique to qualify to the next round of the CAF Confederation Cup where Ghana’s Medeama is awaiting them.

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