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Alba Iulia
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Zesco and Nkana battle to seal CAF Confed Cup group stage qualification

Sports Zesco and Nkana battle to seal CAF Confed Cup ...

It is crunch time for Zambia’s last two continental representatives, Zesco United and Nkana, this weekend in their respective 2018/2019 CAF Confederation Cup pre-group stage final leg away matches.

Zesco and Nkana were relegated to the CAF Confederation Cup playoff round after they were knocked out of the 2018/2019 CAF Champions League pre-group stage in December by TP Mazembe of DR Congo and Simba SC of Tanzania respectively.

On Saturday at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Zesco battle Kaizer Chiefs enjoying a slender 3-1 home win on January 13 in Ndola.

Zesco must now avoid a 2-0away loss in South Africa or will see their continental campaign come to a rare early end.

The pressure is very much on Zesco who are the only Zambian club to play in three successive continental group stage campaigns.

Qualification will see Zesco set another unprecedented milestone after reaching the 2016 CAF Champions League semifinals, the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals and 2018 CAF Champions League group stage.

But Zesco head to Gauteng where they have yet to win in continental action nor eliminate a South African club after Mamelodi Sundowns ejected them in 2016 and later SuperSport United knocked them out in 2017.

Meanwhile, Nkana are in action on Sunday away in Cote d’Ivoire where they will play San Pedro in Abidjan.

Nkana lead 3-0 from the first leg on January 12 in Kitwe.

A draw or 2-0 away loss will suffice for Nkana to see them make their first group stage appearance since 2014 in the same competition.

But Nkana have left influential midfielder Kelvin Mubanga at home over an in-house disciplinary matter following his performance after he was yellow carded in the 33rd minute of Saturday’s first leg before being substituted in the 44th minute.

Winners over both legs will go into the January 21 draws ahead of the league round kickoff on February 1.

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