The Zambian MTN Super League returns for the 2023/24 season this weekend, albeit with a shortened list if fixtures due to CAF club competition commitments, not least for reigning champions Power Dynamos.
There will nonetheless be seven matches played as the teams begin the long journey to what they hope will be a successful tilt at the title next May.
ZESCO United will be hoping for a much-improved season under head coach George Lwandamina, having finished in third in 2022/23, hut a full 10 points behind champions Dynamos.
They have several new arrivals, including Congolese defender Lebeau Madi Binemo, midfielder Samson Ngoma and Pride Mwansa, who arrives on a two-year loan. They followed the arrival of Abraham Siankombo and goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata, who returns after a spell in the South African PSL with Sekhukhune United.
They club has also extended the loan of striker Lazarous Kambole for another season.
ZESCO begin their campaign away at NAPSA Stars on Saturday, no easy task and an early test of their championship ambitions this campaign.
Nkana FC are at home to league 2021/22 winners Red Arrows in another bog opening weekend clash. The latter could field veteran 43-year-old forward James Chamanga.
Arrows have not won at Nkana in the league since 2015.
Green Eagles will take on promoted Mutondo Stars, while another new topflight team, Trident, host Kansanshi Dynamos.
There are also two games on Sunday as Forest Rangers welcome Kabwe Warriors and Mufulira Wanderers, back in the big league after a season in the second-tier, will host Green Buffaloes.
But the campaign gets under way on Friday afternoon when Nkwazi tackle the fourth promoted team, Konkola Blades in a bid to avoid the relegation woes that saw them narrowly beat the drop last term.