THE MTN-FAZ Premier League kicks off today with champions Nkana away to promoted side Green Eagles in Choma as Zesco United host Indeni in a Ndola derby.
It will be a weekend that will see the promoted sides facing tough opponents in the first week with National Assembly up against Zanaco in a double header set for Woodlands Stadium.
Nakambala Leopards makes a trip to Nkoloma Stadium tomorrow to play Red Arrows in a 15:00 hours clash to be beamed live on SuperSport.
Eagles v Nkana
Nkana began their title defence at Independence Stadium in Choma badly hit by illness and injuries.
Defender Billy Mwanza has suffered a bout of Malaria, while striker Joseph Milanzi, midfielder’s Frank Chibuye and Shadreck Muosnda are all injured.
The good news for Nkana is that strikers Evans Musonda and Ronald ‘Sate Sate’ Kampamba are fit and are set to start together for the first time in competitive action since the 2012.
Today’s game could also mark the competitive debut of midfielder Bruce Musakanya who has been sidelined with fitness issues since joining Nkana on loan from Arrows in January.
“Musakanya is fine and he is with us in Choma but we still have a lot of hours between today (Friday) and kick-off and we will see if he will play,” Nkana coach Masauso Mwale said.
Mwale also said the Nkana was not taking the Eagles game lightly.
“We have prepared well and there is no easy game as long as they (Eagles) have come to the premier league they are a good team but we have to be positive in what we are doing,” Mwale said.
The last time Nkana travelled to Choma was on June 2, 2012 in a Week 12 game that ended 1-all. In that match, Nkana snatched a late 80th minute penalty equaliser through Warren Kunda to deny the home side the three points.
Meanwhile, in Saturday’s other games, Zesco host promoted Indeni in a Ndola derby at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium and Nchanga Rangers visit Roan United in Luanshya.
There is a doubleheader at Woodlands Stadium in Lusaka where Green Buffaloes take on Konkola Mine Police in a 13h00 kick-off, while Assembly face Zanaco at 1500hours in matches to be shown live on SuperSport.
In Chililabombwe, Napsa Stars coach Hector Chilombo makes his debut and plays his ex-boss Beston Chambeshi at Konkola Blades, while their former charges Power Dynamos entertain Kabwe Warriors at Arthur Davies in Kitwe.