Napsa Stars coach Mohamed Fathi says it is gratifying to have met the continental group stage qualification target he was set by the club as he enters the final year of his contract.
Fathi guided Napsa to their debut group stage appearance after beating Gor Mahia of Kenya 3-2 on aggregate following a 2-2 final leg result in Lusaka on February 21 to reach the CAF Confederation Cup league stage.
The feat was one of two milestones attained by Napsa who also became the first Zambian club to qualify to the continental group stage on the first attempt.
“I have met one of the targets in my contract by reaching the group stage, so what is coming next is extra,”Fathi said.
“This was in my contract agreement with my bosses and the board to try and take Naps Stars to the group stage.
“I managed it, it is no easy task and my vision now is to take it to the end because this is my last year and I want to leave a legacy at this club.
“But we will see if we are going to continue or this is the end.”
Fathi has been at Napsa since July 2018 when he saved them from relegation to finish 14th, fifth in Stream B of the 2019 transitional season and fourth last term to secure their second continental qualification since 1993 when they did so as then Profund Warriors but withdrew before playing in the CAF Cup.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Napsa’s history making debut season enters its most challenge phase in the league stage where they have been drawn in Group B against Cotonsport of Cameroon and 1990 African champions JS Kabylie from Algeria.
But Napsa will kick-off its Group B campaign against defending champions RS Berkane away in Morocco on March 10 before hosting JSK on March 17 in Lusaka.
“There is no easy group, there is no tough group in continental, what we need to do is work very hard,” Fathi said.
“We know we are playing the defending champions, it won’t be an easy game but I follow their league and I also watched their final against Pyramids of Egypt and we will prepare for them.
“I can give them respect but not too much respect because if I respect them too much, I will lose the game.
“So we respect them on their history but when the game starts, we don’t respect them.
“But I know all of them, especially the Algeria team JS Kabylie while Cotonsport we have more information on then because of the fact that they knocked out Green Eagles
“But I also have more information about Berkane and especially the Algerian team, I know it very well.”