Lusaka. Zanaco assistant coach Dabid Chilufya has hailed his players for qualifying for the CAF Champions League group stage, becoming the second Zambian club to reach the feat.
The Bankers battled to a goalless draw with Tanzanian giants Young Africans in the first round, return leg to advance to the group stage on a 1-1 aggregate.
Zesco featured in the Champions League group stage in 2009 and 2016 and reached the semi-finals last year.
Zanaco also eliminated another Tanzanian club Simba SC, then tutored by Patrick Phiri, 3-2 on aggregate in the 2004 CAF Champions League first round.
Chilufya said in a post-match interview at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka that the qualification to the group stage is a step in the right direction.
He said despite losing several key players during the off season, Zanaco have proved that they are a force to reckon with on the continent.
“We have done well. The team has proved that it is focused after some influential players left us. It is getting somewhere.
“Getting to the group stage is a plus to players and technical bench.
“We have a new team who are still adapting to our system but we are getting there,” Chilufya said.
Chilufya, however, expressed concern at the lack of goals.
“We have a problem with scoring. In front we are still struggling, as we go to the group stage, we will put or heads together to find a solution,” he said.
He said there is need to sharpen the frontline if the Bankers are to perform well in the group stage.
Yanga coach George Lwandamina commended Zanaco for the feat.
“It was a tough game. We all wanted to win and both teams created chances which they failed to convert,” said Lwandamina after the clash.
“They (Zanaco)] have a chance to go further in the Champions League,” Lwandamina said.
Zanaco’s best chance came on 15 minutes when Augustine Mulenga combined well with Ernest Mbewe, but his final touch did not trouble goalkeeper Deogratias Munishi.
Yanga’s Zambian striker Aubrey Chirwa took things personal in the 17th minute after latching onto a Geoffrey Mwashiuya pass, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Taonga Bwembya.
Ghanaian Attram Kwame blasted his shot wide in the 68th minute after latching onto a Boyd Musonda pass.
Lwandamina’s men had vowed to beat the Zambia team before their fans and at ther own turf in Saturday’s clash.