One and a half months after their last competitive match, Zesco United return to action when they embark on a long trip to Niger this weekend.
Zesco play AS Sonidep of Niger away in Niamey on November 27 in a 2018/2019CAF Champions League first round, first leg fixture.
George Lwnadamina’s team are heading back to work for the first time since the end of the FAZ Super Division season on October 13.
Nineteen players have made the trip with three new faces in the entourage for a debut visit by a Zambian club in continental competition to Niger.
striker Rahim Osumanu, who joined from Zesco’s Ndola roommates Buildcon, defender’s Mwila Phiri and Clement Mwape who arrived from Green Eagles and Kabwe Warriors respectively, are in the travelling party.
Off the list are new arrivals strikers Quadri Aladeokun of Nigeria, who joined from Mbabane Swallows of eSwatini, and Lewis Macha who signed as a free agent from Kaizer Chiefs.
Zesco second choice goalkeeper Dieudonne Ntibahezwa will also miss the first leg because he was away on 2019 U23 AFCON qualifying duty with Burundi over the international match week that ended on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Lwandamina said he hoped his charges will overcome the off-season rust and get a positive result in Niger.
“We have to labour, we have to work for our sweet result and that is what we are going to do,” Lwandamina said.
“I know after off-season we have never had any high profile test matches because of the same time factor but I think we have down enough in this short period of time.”
The final leg is set for December 5 in Ndola.
Winner over both legs to face five-time African champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo in next month’s pre-group round for a place in January’s CAF Champions League group stage.
GOALKEEPERS: Samson Banda,Jacob Banda
DEFENDERS: Simon Silwimba,Solomon Sakala ,Fackson Kabumbu, Clement Mwape, Mwila Phiri, Marcel Kalonda,David Owino
MIDFIELDERS:Enock Sabumukama, John Chingandu,Misheck Chaila, Anthony Akumu, Kondwani Mtonga
FORWARDS:Winston Kalengo,Jesse Were,Rahim Osumanu, Lazarus Kambole,Maybin Kalengo