Winger Ernest Mbewe says Zanaco must beat hosts Forest Rangers this Saturday in Ndola to send a statement that they are back in business.
Unbeaten in the league since Chris Kaunda took over in early January with seven wins and a draw, the seven- time champions headline the restart of the FAZ Super Division on July 18 with a big test.
Zanaco visit Levy Mwanaawasa Stadium to play Forest who headed into the four-month coronavirus lockdown in pole position of the FAZ Super Division log and habouring dreams of a debut league title and maiden continental qualification.
Forest enjoys a one point lead ahead of Napsa Stars on 46 points.
Zanaco on the other hand are down in tenth place and trail Forest by eleven points.
“We are looking at getting a positive result against Forest but it is a must-win game, we are not looking at a draw because this game is a crucial game,” Mbewe said.
“If we win, we will send a message that Zanaco are back in business, ok in football you draw, you lose but our objective is to collect the 3 points.
“A draw will hit our morale but a victory will give us a big boost especially after this long break due to the lockdown.”
The game is Zanaco’s first of four herculean rescheduled dates over the next fortnight with fourth placed Nkana next Wednesday in Kitwe, a tricky Lusaka home derby against Kaunda’s ex-charges Nkwazi on July 26, before wrapping up their backlog away against third placed and last season’s runners-up Green Eagles on July 29.
However, the pressure is actually on Forest not only because of their razor-edge lead but who must now redeem themselves for the first leg loss last October when they were beaten 1-0 at Zanaco via a Tafazdwa Rusike penalty .
Moreover, Zanaco have won in their last two league visits to Forest who last beat The Bankers in Ndola in the 2016 season.
Meanwhile, Zanaco arrives in Ndola without their new signing and leading scorer Baba Basile from MUZA FC after a loan spell at Lusaka Dynamos where he amassed his 15 goal haul.
Rodgers Kola who has 11 goals and Chitiya Mususu, with 5 goals have travelled and should lead in attack.
But Forest have a potent component to lean on in Zikiru Adams who will be hoping to add to his 10 goals so far this season.