Nkana and Napsa Begin Quest For CAF Confed Cup Group Stage Qualification


Nkana and Napsa Stars hope to make significant headway this Sunday in their quest to qualify to the 2020/2021 CAF Confederation Cup group stage.

Nkana and Napsa are Zambia’s last men standing in the race for continental group stage action this season after Forest Rangers and Green Eagles tumbled in December and January respectively.
At Nkana Stadium in Kitwe, Nkana hosts Moroccan second division side Tihad Casablanca in their first leg fixture.

Nkana will strangely  be seeking their first home win in continental competition this season and trace  their only victory to November 29 in Lesotho when they beat Bantu FC 1-0 away in Maseru in a CAF  Champions League  first round, first leg match.

Nkana were relegated to the CAF Confederation Cup in January when Petro Athletico of Angola eliminated them from the CAF Champions League pre-group stage.

A modest looking Nkana will also return to continental action for the first time since key striker Idris Mbombo left to join Egypt club El Gouna after January 6 when they lost 1-0 away to Petro in Luanda.

Mbombo’s departure was probably the final nail in the wake of Nkana’s pre-season player brain-drain after Mopani Copper Mines reduced its lavish sponsorship package on the until then big-spending defending league champions.

Little known Striker Simon Mulenga is now the man who has stepped into those big shoes after scoring four goals in Nkana’s last three league games.

Mulenga is set for probably the biggest game of his career on his continental debut before he has even tasted the Kitwe derby.

But Nkana coach Kelvin Kaindu has also warned his players not to underrate Tihad become of their lower league status.

Tihad qualified to the CAF Confederation Cup after lifting last season’s Morocco Throne Cup and are so far unbeaten at home and away in their debut continental campaign with a win and draw on the road.

“This is just not an ordinary team, this is a North African team, and we know what North African teams can do when they come to play against us from the southern region,” Kaindu said.

Meanwhile in Nairobi, Napsa Stars face Kenyan giants Gor Mahia who like Nkana were demoted from the CAF Champions League and drawn in the CAF Confederation Cup against the Lusaka club.

This is Napsa  debut  CAF  Confederation Cup  campaign  and are eyeing history  to become  the first Zambian  club to  qualify to the group stage on the first attempt.

The final legs are set for February 21 and the group stage draws tentatively set for February 22 for the March 10 league phase kickoff.