Zesco host Smouha in Confederation Cup opener

Zesco United Startting 11 against Wydad

Zesco today host Smouha of Egypt in a 2017 CAF Confederation Cup Group C opener at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

The match will be the two sides first ever meeting.

Interestingly the meeting comes almost a year after Zesco opened their 2016 CAF Champions League Group A campaign with a 3-2 home win over Smouha’s compatriots, the 8-time African champions Al Ahly.

Zesco went on to draw 2-2 in the final leg meeting in Egypt en route to the semifinals and Al Ahly’s group stage exit.

The pressure is high on Zesco to also emulate their success in that competition this time in the Confederation Cup.

But first, Zesco must first shrug off their recent poor domestic run they have displayed in the run-up to this weekends games.

Zesco head into the match on the back of a 1-0 loss at Napsa Stars last Saturday but bounced back with modest 2-2 home draw against Green Buffaloes on Wednesday.

That defeat was their first in all competition in 2017 after collecting seven wins and three draws in their opening ten matches this season.

“The league is different from the Confederation Cup and we have prepared to win this game from the first minute,” Zesco coach Zlatko Krmpotic said.

Zesco have no injury worries or suspensions ahead of the match and Krmpotic will be banking on John Chingandu and Jesse Were to get the hosts a favorable result.

Chingandu and Were are Zesco’s top scorers in Africa this season with two goals each.

Smouha meanwhile, have yet to win away in Africa this season or score a goal on the road after losing 3-0 in Kenya to Ulinzi Stars in the first round and drawing 0-0 away to South African club Bidvest Wits in the pre-group stage before qualifying 1-0 on aggregate.

         

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