Zesco United coach George Lwandamina has sounded a modest reaction to his forthcoming reunion with his ex-charges Young Africans in the 2019/20 Total CAF Champions League round of 16.
The Zambian champions visit Dar es Salaam on Saturday to face Yanga as the Tanzanians are nicknamed in the first leg.
Lwandamina is very familiar with Yanga having coached the side from December 2016 to early 2018 after leaving Zesco. He guided the capital-based club to win the Tanzania league for the 2016/17 season before a disappointing third place finish the following season.
‘Chicken’ as he is affectionately called made a U-turn to Zesco in April 2018 and has successive Zambian leagur titles adding to similar feats in 2015 and 2016 seasons prior to his departure for Tanzania.
"No reaction (to the draw), they are next opponents that’s all, so we just have to work extra hard. They are playing good football so we also have to continue with the direction in which have been going,” Lwandamina said.
Zesco advanced to the round of 16 after toiling to a 2-0 away victory on August 10 and 1-0 home win on August 24 over Green Mamba of eSwatini as they battled against off-season rust.
But the electricity lads were more convincing in their opening league game of the new Zambian season when they overrun archrivals Zanaco 2-0 in a Week One fixture at the last month.
"It has not been easy but now we have focus on playing football,” Lwandamina said.
"We have now done the other things and I am sure this is now after our fifth week since we started our pre-season training.
“We have to concentrate on the specifics which is playing football and bringing back the coordination where you have a team playing from rear up to the opponent’s goal."
The good news for Lwandamina is that key midfielders Anthony Akumu of Kenya and Burundi international Enock Sabamukumana , who missed the first round dates against Green Mamba due to injuries, are both back in action after featuring in the opening league win over Zanaco.
On the other hand, Yanga head into the fixture barely weeks into the start of the Tanzanian league season that began with a 1-0 home loss to Ruvu Shooting on August 28 just before the players headed for two weeks of international duty with their respective nations that ended on September 10.
The Tanzanians are unbeaten this term after beating Township Rollers of Botswana 1-0 away but are still without a home win in the competition following a 1-1 first leg result in Dar-es -Salaam.
Interestingly, Yanga’s last encounter against Zambian opposition was at the same stage of the same competition in 2017. With Lwandamina at the helm in charge at the time, but were eliminated by Zanaco on away goals rule following an 1-1 aggregate result.
An awkward feeling of Deja vu is surely something Lwandamina will be battling to shrug off over both legs as Zesco target a fifth successive league stage qualification of a major continental championship.
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