Thursday Sep 09, 2021. 16:00
Four Chipolopolo stars are back from FIFA World Cup duty and are in Zesco United’s 20-member team in Eswatini ahead of Saturday’s 2021/2022 CAF Champions League preliminary round, first leg date against Royal Leopards.
Three players in that quartet saw action in Chipolopolo FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B 2-1 away win over Mauritania on September 3 and the 2-0 home loss to Tunisia on September 7.
Defender Solomon Sakala played the full 90 minutes in both games, midfielders Dickson Chapa came on against Mauritania and started against Tunisia while Kelvin Mubanga came on in the home loss.
Left-back Simon Silwimba was the only Zesco call-up not to have seen any action.
“Of course looking at the way they have performed at the national team it is a plus for the team especially that our league is just starting I think it is another motivation and looking at the way the players are responding,” Zesco coach Mumamba Numba said.
“I think we also have to look at the other guys who did not play at the national team so that we assess how ready they are for this encounter.
“We have come up with the best squad that we can assemble looking at the players that we have and we can only hope for the best when we meet Royal Leopards.”
But two other players who were also away on Chipolopolo duty goalkeeper Gregory Sanjase and midfielder Spencer Sautu are not in the team.
Zesco officially signed Sanjase and Sautu on September 6 from Young Green Eagles and Green Eagles respectively.
Meanwhile, Numba is expected to hand three youngsters their continental debuts this weekend.
They are striker Enock Sakala, defender John Chishimba and midfielder Chanda Mukuka.
The juniors have been key in Zesco’s rebuilding process that begin with Numba’s appointment last season when he won the 2020/2021 FAZ Super League title in his first term at the helm.
Also set for his continental debut is promising winger Edward Lungu who joined Zesco this season from demoted Kitwe United.
Zesco are returning to continental action for the first time since the 2019/2020 season after failing to qualify for the last campaign.
GOALKEEPERS: Ian Otieno, Samson Banda
DEFENDERS: Fackson Kapumbu, John Chishimba, Solomon Sakala, Clement Mwape, Simon Silwimba, Adrian Chama
MIDFIELDERS: Donashano Malama, Chanda Mukuka, Dickson Chapa, Tafadzwa Rusike, John Chingandu, Edward Lungu, Kelvin Mubanga, Thabani Kamusoko
STRIKERS: Jesse Were, Winstone Kalengo, Chitiya Mususu, Enock Sakala