NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17- Zesco United defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino has admitted the team’s failure to make it to the final of the CAF Champions League was a painful experience after exiting at the semi-final stage.
Zesco lost 4-3 on aggregate to eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa after a fairy tale run that saw them qualify to the group stages for only the second time in their history.
“We had made a target that at worst, we should get to the finals but football being football, whatever happened just happened. It really affected us but we will focus on the remaining matches and see whether we will be there again next season,” Owino told Capital Sport.
The exit from the Champions League saw them take a tumble in the defence of their domestic title and the resignation of their coach George Lwandamina further unnerved the club.
“The issue of the coach had also destabilised us but since everything has been made clear now that he is joining Tanzania’s Yanga, we can concentrate on getting ourselves back on top,” Owino, who has been a regular in the club since joining in January 2015, noted.
“When you are used to one coach and he leaves midway in the season it can affect the team. But we agreed to work hard and look at finishing the season well,” he added.
Zesco are placed third on the Zambian League standings with 54 points, 11 behind leaders Zanaco but with a match at hand.
Owino admits with seven rounds of matches to play, the possibility of defending the title is slim but they will work at finishing second to hand them an opportunity to play in the CAF Confederations Cup.
“Looking at the table, it is a bit hard to talk of defending the title. But the good thing is that we have started picking wins and hopefully we can fight to finish at position two and get to play continental football next season again,” Owino noted.
The defender alongside midfielder Anthony Akumu and striker Jesse Were missed the club’s 2-1 win away to Lusaka United on Wednesday as they were in Nairobi for national duty but will be part of the squad on Sunday when they travel away to 15th placed Mufulira Wanderers.