Zesco United turn their focus to the 2021 ABSA Cup this Saturday when they face Konkola Blades in a semifinal doubleheader at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
The defending ABSA Cup champions are flying high in the league and unbeaten in their last seven games that has seen them open a seven-point lead over second placed Zanaco on 46 and 39 points respectively with eleven matches left before the league title is decided.
But as Zesco eye the double this season, coach Mumamba Numba is wary of Blades who are leading the National First Division promotion race and in touching distance of returning to the FAZ Super Division for the first time since 2017.
Blades also come into the ABSA Cup semifinals with some reputation after they eliminated Forest Rangers via a 1-0 result and were the only team to advance to the quarterfinals without the luck of the post-match penalty shootout.
“They (Zesco players) have really show the character in training that they really want to defend this title but it all requires a lot of hard work from all of us and good application and attitude in tomorrow’s game,” Numba said.
“We are playing a very determined team and it won’t be an easy game but we have a team that can withstand the pressure and get us the result that we want.”
Numba has not injury worries and is expected to stick to the winning team that has scored twelve goals and conceded three in their last five league games.
Meanwhile, Numba is not only familiar with Blades as his ex-club 21 years ago but returned there briefly last October to help them during their unsuccessful promotion playoffs.
“He came to help us when we qualified for the playoffs so he has an insight of the players,” Blades coach Lewington Mujembe said.
“So I am sure it will be a bit difficult facing him having coached the players before but we are also looking forward to facing him.”
Meanwhile, in the early kickoff, 2017 winners Zanaco will face Lusaka Dynamos.
Zanaco are seeking to qualify for a second successive ABSA final after losing 4-1 to holders Zesco in 2019.