Stuttering defending FAZ Super Division champions Nkana return to league action on Wednesday when they visit promoted Indeni in Ndola following their fortunate CAF Champions League second round qualification.
Nkana scrapped through to the pre-group stage of the CAF Champions League following a 1-0 aggregate win over Bantu FC of Lesotho.
It wasn’t pleasing to the eye, especially the last leg in Kitwe that ended 0-0, in what was probably Nkana’s worst display in continental history and a match Bantu were guilty of poor finishing and failed to break their host’s unbeaten home continental record at Wusakile.
That display by led to the subsequent suspension of Nkana coach Manfred Chabinga just hours after the final whistle.
Chabinga’s assistants Kaunda Simonda and Joseph Musonda will be in interim charge.
The duo must now steer Nkana out of the top four bracket of the relegation zone where the champions sit on 5 points from as many games played and with just one league victory.
But it is uncertain whether injured striker Idris Mbombo who has played through the pain barrier will be forced to start at number eight club Indeni.
The plan prior to Chabinga’s departure was to rest the prolific striker for at least two games for him to fully heal from an injury that has troubled him since late November.
But Nkana still have striker Ronald Kampamba and midfielder Harrison Chisala available for lead their attack in case Mbombo is rested.
Nkana will also welcome back defensive midfielder Misheck Chaila who missed the two CAF Champions League date after the club failed to beat the registration deadline.
Chaila’s return will be a boost after Nkana looked out of depth in midfield through the inexperienced Stephen Chulu.
Meanwhile, Nkana desperately need to leave Ndola without a defeat ahead of Sunday’s home date against tricky Green Eagles.
But it will be an uphill battle at Indeni as the hosts are unbeaten so far this season in Ndola with two successive wins including 1-0 victory against Nkana’s convincing archrivals Power Dynamos.
That win over Power, and the one against Prison Leopards by the same margin, came after Indeni marked their return with a 0-0 home draw against Green Buffaloes.