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Stars, Dynamos set for historic clash

Lusaka Dynamos will “give everything” in their historic CAF Champions League preliminary round clash against African Stars in August.

The sides were on Tuesday drawn to face off between 18 and 20 August for the first leg, which African Stars will host, and the return leg set for between 25 and 27 August on Dynamos’ home turf.

“It’s a fair draw despite not having any clear idea of the team from Namibia. As you know, it’s been a long time since we played in the CAF Inter-club games, and we are newcomers coming to start afresh, unlike seasoned campaigners like SC Simba of Tanzania,” said Dynamos coach Mwenya Chipepo, who was one of the assistant coaches when Zambia successfully retained the Cosafa Cup earlier this month.

Unlike the multitude of meetings between the Zambian and Namibian national sides, the tie represents the first time that clubs from the two nations take each other on in continental action.

Previous match-ups between Namibian and Zambian clubs failed to materialise. In the 1996 Cup Winners Cup, now defunct Zamsure withdrew before their first round clash against Tigers.

A year later, Chiefs Santos pulled out of their CAF Cup fixture against Kabwe Warriors.

“We shall give everything starting from the first game. We shall not underrate our opponents from Namibia, despite not having an idea. We shall treat every game like a final,” said Chipepo.

Stars top scorer from last season Willy Stephanus had two spells at Kitwe giants Dynamos.

“We are starting away, meaning we need to be ready and mentally prepared. We have to work very hard and know that we are not representing the club but the entire country. Many people have confidence that we shall do well and promise to do justice,” the Dynamos coach said.

Chipepo said the target was to go far in the competition and make Zambia proud.

“Rules have changed. We understand there is nothing like dropping to the Confederation Cup, so we have to go on with everything and represent the country with pride. It won’t be easy, but we ask players to know what is at stake,” said Chipepo.

Similarly, the Namibian champions look forward to “a thrilling challenge” when they make their return to the continent’s premiere club competition.

Starlile’s best in the competition was a first round exit in 2018 and can reach that stage again should they overcome Dynamos, with Tanzanian powerhouse Simba SC lying in wait.

“The roar of the crowd will be deafening as African Stars take the field at home between 18 and 20 August. Let’s unite as one and show our unwavering support to our team, cheering them on with all our hearts,” the club said on its official Facebook page.

The club recruited experienced Ghanaian coach Prince George Koffi in the closed season and recently unveiled six new players to bolster their CAF Champions League adventure.

Zambian defender Joseph Lungu signed from Zambian side Red Arrows and Nigerian midfielder Hammed Oyeniyi signed from Bariga Professional in his home country. Another midfielder, Dennis Tjizumaue, arrived from Township Rollers in Botswana, with attacking midfielder Angelo Kuezi joining from Eleven Arrows.

Stars was further strengthened with the arrivals of goalkeepers Clavin Spiegel from Blue Waters and Vaitavera Tjatindi from Citizens.

“Let’s keep the spirit high and keep the faith in our team, no matter the location. We know our African Stars have what it takes to shine bright and make us proud,” Stars said.

“So, mark your calendars, wear your red, white, and blue with pride, and let’s stand behind our team as they embark on this thrilling Champions League journey.”