Zambia’s envoys in the 2019/20 Total CAF Confederation Cup Zanaco Football Club have been drawn against Egyptian side Pyramids FC in the Quarter-finals of the continent’s second premier club competition.
The Bankers qualified to the last emerging second with 10 points in Group C after having struggled in the opening stages of the group phase and had wait until Matchday 4 to pick up their first win which was a 3-0 victory over group weepers ESAE FC of Benin in Lusaka.
Rejuvinated under the stewardship of new coach Chris Kaunda managed another 2-1 home win over DC Motema Pembe before going away to RS Berkane of Morocco where they needed only a point to write history by confirming their place in the knockout phase of a continental competition for the first time in the club’s history.
A second-half goal by redhot striker Roger Kola ensured the seven-time Zambian champions cancelled out Burkinabe international Alain Traore’s early opener and the Bankers held on to ensure their participation in Wednesday’s draw that was held in Cairo, Egypt.
Zanaco will now face a Pyramids FC side that is only making their debut CAF competition expedition and qualified to the knockout round after topping Group A with an impressive 15 points.
The first encounter between the two sides is expected to be hosted by Zanaco on 1st March at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka while return leg is on 8th March at Cairo’s 30 June Stadium.
The Egyptians managed to win five of their six group fixtures including a resounding 6-0 home win over Mauritanian side FC Nouadhibou and also managed to beat both local rivals Al Masry SC both home (2-0) and away (2-1).
Enyimba Int’l have proved to be Pyramids’ toughest challenge yet as the Nigerian champions picked up a 1-0 win in Cairo to avenge their 3-1 humiliation in Aba on Matchday 1 at the hands of the Egyptians who have only that loss to count in CAF competition.
Initially formed as Al-Assouity Sport of Assuit, the club was in 2018 acquired by Saudi billionaire Turki Al-Sheikh who later changed the name and location of the club to Pyramids and Cairo respectively.
In 2018, the club was nicknamed “Egyptian moneybags” after spending a mindblowing over $57m (over E£ 900m) on transfers that included that saw the club acquire top players including Brazilians Keno and Rodriguinho from Palmeiras and Corinthians respectively as well as Peruvian star Cristian Benevente while the club also managed tie down top local talent in Pharaohs stars Abdallah El Said, Ahmed El Shenawy and Ali Gabr among others to help the club finish their in the Egyptian top-flight and qualify for its maiden exploration on the continent.
The club is now owned by Emirati Business tycoon Salem Al-Shamsi since June, 2019 when Al-Sheikh quit the club and then followed the departure of a number of the leading star players at the club.
However, under Al-Shamsi the club currently coached by Croatian Ante Cacic continues to possess an expensively assembled squad that includes top internationals including captain Abdallah El Said who has stayed at the club along with Pharaohs number Ahmed El Shenawy, Ivorian and 2015 AFCON winner Wilfred Kanon and Tunisian winger Amor Layouni, plus more.