Zesco United’s ambitions to qualify for the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup group stage will be tested away on Sunday when they face Nigerian champions Enugu Rangers in a first leg match in Enugu.
The Ndola side has never won away in Nigeria in two previous visits losing 3-2 to Kano Pillars in the 1999 CAF Champions League group stage while Warri Wolves beat them 3-0 in the first round of the 2010 CAF Confederation Cup.
But a veteran of those two outings believes Zesco is now older and wiser especially after last years milestone when they made a debut semifinal qualification in the 2016 CAF Champions League.
“This time around we have experienced players and we know what it takes to play in the Confederation Cup and Champions League,” Banda said.
“I think we have enough experience now to handle the pressure in West Africa.”
However, Zesco head to Nigeria with injury and suspension setbacks.
Striker Jackson Mwanza, defender Simon Silwimba and midfielder Misheck Chaila have missed the trip due to injuries.
Zesco’s attack has suffered even harder with Idris Mbombo also out due to suspension after accruing two yellow cards in the first round against Le Messager Ngozi of Burundi.
But coach Zlatko Krmpotic still has striker Jesse Were who has one goal already in the tournament and is expected to lead in attack alongside John Chingandu.
Chingandu in particular heads to Nigeria on a high after scoring a brace in Zesco’s 2-0 win over Nkana in the Charity Shield final on April 2.
Krmpotic will be hoping Chingandu can step up and replicate that form at continental level against the Nigerian champions.
Meanwhile, Enugu were relegated to the Confederation Cup pre-group stage after Zamalek eliminated from the stage stage of the 2-017 CAF Champions League last month.
The final leg will be played on April 15 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola with the winner over both legs advancing to next month’s Confederation Cup group stage.