By FELIX MALUNGA-
NKANA coach Masautso Mwale has said overconfidence by his players allowed Egyptian giants, Zamalek to inflict a humiliating defeat on the Zambian champions during the 2014 CAF Champions League second round return leg played on Sunday.
The 12-time league champions returned home yesterday to a low key reception 24 hours after being eliminated 5-0 on aggregate by Zamalek from the Champions League.
Nkana jetted in around 14:30 hours and none of their faithful fans turned up at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola to welcome the MTN Premier Division League champions.
Unlike the fanfare which characterised their previous arrival after knocking out Ugandan side, Kampala Capital City Council, the team was only received by Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) committee member, Pivoty Simwanza before quietly driving off to Kitwe.
Mwale said the Zambian envoys lost to Zamalek on Sunday because the players gave their hosts too much respect and that the players never played a good game.
He said after a 0-0 draw in the first leg, Nkana became overconfident but Zamalek were ready for the Zambian team.
Mwale also said the absence of key defenders, Christopher Munthali and Donashano Malama, who were suspended for the Zamalek match after accumulating two yellow cards each, contributed to Nkana’s loss.
He, however, said the Nkana players tried their best and even missed some chances which if converted could probably have changed the fortunes of the team.
With Zamalek leading 2-0 at half time, Mwale said conceding the third goal early after the break also snuffed out Nkana’s fighting spirit.
“The event went wrong in Cairo. The boys never played a good game. We gave them (Zamalek) too much respect. We lost it out there because our friends were ready for us,” Mwale said.
He said Nkana were now looking forward to the Confederation Cup and ready to face any opposition in Africa’s second club competition tier.
Mwale said Nkana had learnt something from the Champions League experience and believed if given another North African opposition, the players could account for themselves well.
The draws for the Confederation Cup’s pre-group stage round will be conducted today at the CAF headquarters in Cairo.
Meanwhile, MTN football reports that five-time African champions, Zamalek, who had managed to earn a valuable goalless draw in Kitwe last weekend, gave Nkana no breathing space at the Air Defence Stadium.
Ahmed Tawfiq and Moemen Zakaria gave the hosts two first half goals to put them firmly in control before substitutes Omar Gaber, Ahmed Gaafar and Hazem Emam also got their names on the score sheet, completing a rout.
By FELIX MALUNGA-