Zanaco vs APR FC 3:30pm
APR FC vs Zanaco
Rwandan league champions, APR FC are confident of getting a good result against Zanaco FC of Zambia when both sides meet in the first leg of their CAF Champions League preliminary round tie on Saturday afternoon at Sunset Stadium in Lusaka.
The military side touched base in Lusaka on Thursday afternoon ahead of today’s clash, which they will be hoping to win at least get a draw before hosting the return leg next weekend in Kigali.
The record 16-time national league winners head coach Jimmy Mulisa said, before the team’s departure, that the players are in high spirits and determined to get a positive result in the first leg.
“It’s going to be a tough game, we have no doubt about that, so we must be well prepared if we’re to achieve our set goals for this competition, but especially the first hurdle,” Mulisa said on Thursday.
The former Rwanda international forward, who was part of the APR team that reached the second qualification round in 2004, noted that, “We have watched their videos and we have some information about them, so you could say, we sort of know what to expect from Zanaco.”
Mulisa, who is making his debut in the continental club championship as a coach, has most of his first choice players available but will miss the services of injured midfield duo of Andrew Buteera and Muhadjiri Hakizimana as well as young forward Blaise Itangishaka.
Top scorer Issa Bigirimana will lead the line as the army side search for an away goal, which could turn out to be very important in the second leg.
Since the army side made their debut in Africa’s biggest club competition in 1997, APR have never reached the group stages whereas their opponents Zanaco reached the last 16 in 2010.
The winner between APR and Zanaco will face the winner of the game between Ngaya de Mbe of Cameroon and Young Africans of Tanzania. The first round fixtures will then be played on the weekends of March 11-13 and 17-19. The losers at the first round will drop to the CAF Confederation Cup.
Zambian champions Zanaco are expected to give debuts to some of their new signings including; right full back Taonga Bwembya and former Lusaka Dynamos hit man Kennedy Musonda.
But head coach Numba Mumamba will miss key players in Rodrick Kabwe, Isaac Chansa and Aaron Katebe, who are nursing injuries.