…as Zesco seek redemption against Super Sport
By Grace Chaile Lesoetsa
AFTER escaping lynching by angry Zesco United fans on Tuesday, following a 3-0 home shock defeat at the hands of minnows Lumwana Radiants, coach Zlatko Krmpotic is under-pressure to restore the Ndola outfit’s reputation when they face Super Sport United of South Africa in today’s CAF Confederation Cup crucial tie at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Zesco have won all four Confederation Cup home matches this year but Super Sport have warned they are in Zambia for victory and nothing else.
The Zambian giants have not lost at home in all continental competitions since 2006 and hope to keep a clean sheet.
The two sides battled to a goalless draw in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final played in Pretoria last Friday.
However, the burden squarely lies on Krmpotic’s shoulders to convince the club management and fans that he is the right man to continue tutoring Zesco, whose reputation has remained impeccable since returning to Zambia’s top flight football, after years of playing in the lower ranks.
The Serbian must play his cards right as his charges need an outright win to book a place in the semi-final while their foes are only looking for a scoring draw to reach the last four for the first time in the club’s history. Speaking on arrival at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola yesterday, Super Sport coach Eric Tinkler declared his lads ready for this afternoon’s uphill battle.
The former Bafana Bafana defender said his team is aiming for a win and understands the Zambian outfit’s capabilities.
“We have come here to win because that is what we prepared for. It will be a difficult match but I believe we can beat Zesco in their own backyard,” he said.
He said everyone back in South Africa is looking forward to the team’s qualification to the semi-finals.
On the other hand, Krmpotic said he has psyched his players well and will approach the match with caution.
He said his team has prepared for the much needed win and has put behind Tuesday’s drama when Zesco fans attempted to lynch him after going down 0-3 to Lumwana Radiants at home.
“We managed to force a draw in Pretoria and now that we are home, victory is a must,” he said.
Krmpotic will look to Maybin Kalengo, Jesse Were, Misheck Chaila and Davy Daka to aid the team to the semi-final.
The match will be a replica of Thursday’s tragedy when South Africa came from behind to shatter Zambia’s dream of a maiden COSAFA women championship final.
South Africa’s Banyana Banyana were down 0-3 until the 75th minute when they replied three times to end the match 3-3 in regulation time and won the tie 5-3 on post-match penalties.