CAF Champions League Group D preview: Zesco United seek first win, Swallows travel to Etoile

Jesse Were of Zesco United
Zesco United.
The Zambians are winless in all three Caf Champions League matches they have played so far

Zambian giants Zesco United welcome from injury defender Simon Silwimba and midfielder Anthony Akumu ahead of Friday’s Caf Champions League showdown away at Primeiro Agosto.

A terrible run has defined Group D basement side Zesco’s run in the current campaign in which they are winless and have conceded three goals in three games.

The trip to Angola provides a stern test for George Lwandamina’a charges who just have two points with three games left to salvage their campaign.

But with Silwimba and Akumu back, Zesco have received a big boost as they seek to break the jinx.

After missing last weekend’s Zambian league match against Power Dynamos following a knock sustained in the reverse fixture against Agosto, Silwimba is back for the crucial tie at the Estadio 11 de Novembro in Luanda.

Kenya international Akumu also returns, having missed Zesco’s last two games.

Facing Agosto, who held them 0-0 in Ndola last week, makes the visit to Angola a tough task for 2016 Caf Champions League semi-finalists Zesco.

Agosto also have a boost of their own with defender Natael and midfielder Macaia returning from injury.

Also in Group D, leaders Etoile du Sahel are keen to consolidate their stay at the top when they host Mbabane Swallows at the Stade Olympique de Sousse.

Enjoying a three-point gap at the top, Etoile would want to avoid defeat to maintain their lead while a win for second-placed Swallows throws the race for top place wide open.

But inspiring for Etoile is the fact that they beat Swallows away in Swaziland last week.

The trip to Tunisia has however become tougher for Swallows who now have a Champions League depleted side after star players Felix Badenhorst and Sandile ‘Nkomishi’ Ginindza joined South African National First Division side Mbombela United last week.

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Coach Thabo Vilakati however feels lucky to have Sanele Mkhweli whose move to another South African First Division side, TS Sporting has been delayed.

“Mkhweli is here as you can see and we will see when he goes. It’s only Richard Sewu who we’ll meet in Johannesburg as he had some things to sort out,” Vilakati told the Times of Swaziland.

Their stay at position two on the log is under threat from Zesco and Agosto, whom they lead by two points each.