There is nothing at stake for Zesco United who have been eliminated from the ongoing Caf Confederation Cup, but their Sunday's opponents, Kotoko, are in need of a win from the encounter to progress to the quarterfinals. Zesco's officials have promised to offer a victory, to honour supporters and perhaps make life easier for fellow Zambians Nkana FC, who are still in the competition. Kotoko's win could jeopardise Nkana's chances of progressing.
With nine points at the top of Group C, Nkana would be knocked out if they lose against Al Hilal and if Kototo defeat Zesco. Would Zesco come hard on the Ghanaians in favour of Nkana or would love to see their country rivals eliminated as well?
However, Kotoko may not be considering those possibilities. They need a victory to keep their campaign alive. They will put in their best to achieve an away success, which they have realised just once thus far in the ongoing championship.
|Game||Zesco United v Asante Kotoko|
|Date||Sunday, March 17|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Live Match Centre||TV Channel|
|Goal.com||GBC (Sports Plus)|
Squads & Team News
Zesco have not reported any injury concern ahead of the game.
Possible Zesco starting XI : Banda, Mayembe, Silwimba, Mwape, Owino, Mtonga, Akumu, Chaila, Sabumukama, Kola, Were
Kotoko have lost a couple of players due to injury or suspension, which appears to be a huge challenge. Talisman Songne Yacouba, midfielder Richard Senanu, Maxwell Baakoh and Ismail Abdul Ganiyu will play no part in Sunday's clash. However, coach Akonnor is confident his current squad can get the job done.
Possible Kotoko starting XI : Annan, Frimpong, Sefah, Darkwah, Agyemang-Badu, Ganiyu, Bonsu, Gyamfi, Owusu, Safiu, Adams
Kotoko found themselves in the current situation following a wasted opportunity to seal a quarterfinal berth in their previous match against Al Hilal of Sudan, who forced the Porcupines to settle for a 1-1 draw in Kumasi. A win would have moved them into the next round of the competition, making their trip for the final matchday an easy one. Now, they must win in Zambia to claim Group C's other spot for the quarterfinals.
The fact that Zesco are already eliminated does not necessarily make it an easy mission for the Ghanaians. They have no obligation to gift the visitors three points. Kotoko must toil for what they want and impose their will in Zambia. However, the first rule to observe is discipline, mostly at the back. The 3-1 debacle against Nkana is enough lesson to guide the Porcupine Warriors against defensive blunders which could ruin everything they are aspiring for in Africa this term.
Zesco have little or no pressure on their shoulders coming into this game. They want to entertain local fans and play for bonuses. Care must be taken while facing such a team. They would push and try to control the game, using pace and intensity, in an attempt to earn free-kicks, throw balls and corners as much as possible. We shouldn't forget the revenge factor. Zesco would not want to lose home and away to Kotoko, who won the first leg 2-1.
On paper, the hosts look to be favourites for Sunday's meeting while the visitors the more determined side. If Kotoko could show character, in line with their current ambition, Zesco would struggle to have their way.