Nkana jump straight in to the fire tonight in the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup when they face CR Belouizdad of Algeria in a first round, first leg match away in Algiers at 18h00.
Nkana enter the fray this month after enjoying a bye from February’s preliminary round.
Coach Beston Chambeshi has rallied Nkana to ensure they leave Algeria with nothing less than a draw after failing to win away in North Africa in their history.
Nkana’s best result from fifteen North African visits has been a 1-1 draw in Tunisia against CA Bizertin in 2014 that saw them qualify to the CAF Confederation Cup group stage via the same aggregate score line on away goals rule.
“It is football and for sure things must start changing now. Just a short while ago, the Zambia national team did the impossible and beat Algeria so anything is possible,” Chambeshi said.
Victory will see Nkana emulate Zambia who beat Algeria 1-0 away last September to record their debut victory against in the North African nation.
Meanwhile, the true value of Nkana’s prolific attack that has proved itself domestically is about to be tested at continental level tonight.
In particular is 2016 Golden Boot winner Walter Bwalya who will be making his continental debut for Nkana.
Striker’s Festus Mbewe and Ronald Kampamba return to continental action for the first time since 2014 when Nkana made its group stage debut in the same competition.
Overall, Nkana have only one major absentee in ex-Zambia U20 winger Harrison Chisala who missed the trip due to injury.
Defender John Mwengani who had a torrid Zambia debut in the 2018 CHAN quarterfinal loss to Sudan is in the team and set for his first competitive match back since that forgettable game.
And Nkana will host Belouizdad in the final leg on March 17 at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe and winner over both legs will advance the last 32 in April where they will be drawn against losers from March’s CAF Champions League pre-group stage.