10 January 2019 12:54
Unbeaten in the 2018/2019 Total CAF Confederation Cup, FC San Pedro of Cote d'Ivoire hope to move one step closer to their debut league round qualification when they visit Zambian giants Nkana this Saturday at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe.
The Ivoirian upstarts head into the pre- group stage, first leg date with two wins and as many draws from their last four matches in this season’s competition.
San Pedro especially made a big statement in the second round when they eliminated 1994 CAF Winners’ Cup Champions and 2011 CAF Confederation Cup group stage campaigners DC Motema Pembe of DR Congo whom they held 1-1 away in Kinshasa and later beat 2-0 in Abidjan on December 22.
"Motema Pembe and Nkana are both big teams but this our first experience in the Confederation Cup. But we will try and make sure we have a good match. I know it will be a difficult match and Nkana is a very good team but we will try our very best," a modest sounding San Pedro coach Jani Tarek said on arrival in Zambia.
But the pressure is on Nkana who were relegated to the CAF Confederation Cup following their 2018/2019 Total CAF Champions League pre-group stage exit at the hands of Simba SC of Tanzania in December.
Furthermore, Nkana have never eliminated an Ivorian club from continental football after Africa Sport dumped them out of the old Champions Cup semifinals in 1986 on away goals rule after drawing 1-1 in Kitwe and 0-0 in Abidjan.
Sewe Sport also left Kitwe with a 1-1 draw in the 2014 CAF Confederation Cup group stage, first leg and later beat Nkana 3-0 in Abidjan on the Cote d’Ivoire sides’ path finishing runners-up that season.
Chambeshi, though, is upbeat Nkana will prevail at home and redeem themselves for December’s CAF Champions League exit.
"The 90 minutes will tell, we also want to qualify. We just need to work hard and see to it that we kill the game at home," Chambeshi said.
Meanwhile, Nkana have two absentees for the first leg with midfielder Jacob Ngulube out due to illness while Kenyan international defender Musa Mohammed is suspended.
"Musa is on two yellow cards and he is not going to play. He has been a regular player, he is a member of this family, so when one is not in the team, it gives us worries but otherwise we have a replacement to seal that gap," Chambeshi said.