Debmarine Premiership Champions African Stars journey in the 2023/24 TotalEnergies Caf Champions League lasted for less than two weeks as they got knocked out in the preliminary round this past weekend.
Stars were drawn against Zambia’s heavyweight Power Dynamos, against whom they played the first match of their preliminary round in South Africa, where they won 2-1 a week ago.
They then went to Zambia for the return leg of the preliminary round on Saturday and lost 1-0 to Power Dynamos, a result that saw the Zambians advance to the next stage of the tournament via away goals, following a two-all aggregate scoreline.
Dynamo’s striker Andy Boyeli scored the winning goal for the hosts in the 27th minute via a penalty after his teammate John Soko was brought down in the box.
Stars watched in disbelief as their 65th-minute goal was ruled out for offside.
Dynamos missed several scoring opportunities in the first half before Stars took over the show in the last half.
Linos Makwaza forced a save from goalkeeper Kamaijanda Ndisiro with a robust long-range shot.
Stars had a pile driver shot on target, stopped by keeper Lawrence Mulenga after 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Power will now face Simba SC of Tanzania in the next round of the elite CAF club competition.
Speaking after the match, Stars head coach Prince Koffie said it was unfortunate that their campaign had to be short-lived and they could not go through to the next round. He, however, said they would take the loss as a learning curve going forward.
"Our objective was to progress to the group stage of the competition – but unfortunately, this is the end of the road for us. But this is not the end of our lives. We take this as a learning curve, and next time when we are playing at home and leading, we don’t go with the defensive block; we still have to go with the high pressing and defensive mid-block, so we can control the movement," he said.
- Additional reporting Lusaka Times.