After taking care of their continental obligations, Zanaco and Zesco United begin their domestic campaigns this Thursday with action in the season-opening 2017 Charity Shield semifinals.
The two sides will be in action in respectively fixtures of the semifinal doubleheader at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
ZESCO UNITED-POWER DYNAMOS
Zesco face the Charity Shield defending champions Power Dynamos in a repeat of last years meeting at the same stage.
Power beat Zesco 4-2 on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw to reach the final where they defeated Green Buffaloes 1-0.
However, Zesco went on to dominate Power in the league winning 2-1 away in Kitwe and 4-0 at home in Ndola.
Zesco are little changed from last season with midfielder Cletus Chama the only notable departure.
Zesco still look the better side to take the day thanks to their quality especially in attack led by Jesse Were and Jackson Mwanza who both looked very convincing in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.
Power have new striker Lyson Sikaonga but the question is can the veteran striker who arrived from Division 1 side Roan United with 26 goals last season really shame the skeptics and star starting in Thursday’s Charity Shield?
Zanaco head into the match unconvincing in competitive action this year.
The Bankers have already played four competitive games, all of them in the 2017 CAF Champions League.
However, Zanaco have mustered just one win and three draws on their way to qualifying the Champions League group stage.
They face a Nkana side then defeated them 4-2 in the two sides’ last meeting last August in the league.
Furthermore, Nkana have yet to lose at home in Kitwe to Zanaco since 2012.
Nkana strikers Walter Bwalya and Ronald Kampamba have also looked in red-hot form in the preseason and the weight of expectations is on their shoulders in Nkana’s first competitive game in 2017.
The game will also see ex-Zanaco defender Aaron Katebe face his former club for the first time since leaving them in December to join Nkana.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s winners will clash in the final on April 2 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.