Zesco United and Zanaco will be hoping to put some sun shine on Zambia’s 2018 continental hopes in the CAF Champions League after set-backs elsewhere by their compatriots.
Zesco hosts ASEC Mimosa of Cote d’Ivoire while Zanaco await Mbabane Swallows in their respective last 32 first leg ties of the CAF Champions League.
The fixtures come 24 hours after Nkana lost 3-0 away in Algeria to CR Belouizdad in a 2018 CAF Confederation Cup first round, first leg match in Algiers.
Zambia’s other CAF Confederation Cup envoys Green Buffaloes were eliminated in February.
At Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zesco and ASEC meet for a third time in the CAF Champions League since their 2016 encounter in the group stage that the Ndola side won 3-1 at home and drew 1-1 away in Abidjan.
Zesco will also be hoping that their good fortunes against Ivorian opposition continue with a record of two wins and as many draws.
And the match comes a fortnight after Zesco advanced to the pre-group stage with a 7-0 home win over JKU of Zanzibar on February 21 following a 0-0 away draw on February 21.
“We respect ASEC, they are one of the best teams in Africa and we know how they play,” Zesco captain Jacob Banda said.
“You cannot compare ASEC to the Zanzibar team we played, so we have to prepare very well because they are a more advanced than JKU.
“We have to prepare well and must be careful both in defence and in attack and also we have to utilize every chance that we get.”
Meanwhile, at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zanaco battle Swazi champions Swallows.
Zanaco too face Swallows for a third time since the 2013 CAF Champions League after beating the Swazi’s 3-2 in Lusaka before drawing 0-0 in Mbabane in a preliminary round tie.
“I must say this time around football has changed. Mbabane Swallows is a better side now,” Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba said.
“Yes, we have played them before but I think it not a team to underrate, they now represent Swaziland in this competition year-in, year-out.”
The final legs will be played during the weekend of March 17 with the winners over both legs qualifying to the group stage those beings in May.