Africa: Akumu – We Are Not Afraid of Sundowns

“We are not afraid of Mamelodi Sundowns”, these were the words of Zambia’s Zesco United combative midfielder and unsung hero Anthony Akumu, ahead of the semi-final first leg on Saturday in Ndola.

The 23-year-old Kenya-born midfielder, who has over four years of experience in the continental club championships, arrived at Zesco this season after two years at Al Khartoum in Sudan and Gor Mahia in his native.

“Of course we respect Sundowns, they have been doing well in the CAF Champions League and their local league (South Africa) but when the day comes, we will put that respect aside because we also want to win,” Akumu said.

“We will try and play our best and use all the opportunities that will come our way.”

This will be Zesco’s first competitive meeting against Sundowns whom they have faced in friendlies but the Zambian club has endured three defeats in all those warm up matches.

“They (two teams) have engaged in friendlies before, but I was not around. I don’t know how they play but football is dynamic. They have different players, it will be a different day and a different situation so any team can win but we are up to the task.”

Akumu added that playing the first leg at home is a big plus for them and that the team is very focused on continuing with their dream to reach next month’s final.

“A win will be okay, but if we can get more than one goal at home it will be a bonus. We want to continue with our winning ways at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium where we have never lost,” Akumu added.

Akumu is enjoying an unforgettable debut season with Zesco following his move from Al Khartoum for whom he featured in last year’s CAF Confederation Cup, when they were knocked out in the preliminary round by his Zesco’s local rivals, Power Dynamos.

“When my contract finished at Khartoum, I didn’t want to go back to Kenya and my agent got in touch with Zesco and made a deal. I am really enjoying myself here,” he said.

He however said that he was not taking his position for granted considering the strong competition he is facing for that place with Zambia international Kondwani Mtonga.

“There is a lot of competition in midfield and it is matter of working hard to get your chance. I think it has been good so far and I am so happy that I have been given a chance to play because of my hard work.

“It is also a great achievement to reach the semi-finals both as a team and as an individual.”

Meanwhile, the Harambee Stars defensive midfielder, who has made an instant impact as Zesco’s prime enforcer in the middle of park, has only one regret.

“Scoring has been my weakness because even at Gor Mahia where I spent for four-and-a-half years, I only scored four goals but I am working very hard to try and score goals at Zesco,” Akumu concluded.

Source: Confederation of African Football.