The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) says Zesco United’s debut semifinal qualification to the 2016 CAF Champions League will raise the profile of the local league.

Zesco advanced to the last four with a match to spare heading into Wednesdays 1-1 home draw with Wydad Casablanca of Morocco to substantially finish second behind the latter in Group A on 9 and 11 points respectively.

“The fact that they are now in the semifinals, it shows they are now among the big boys of African football,” FAZ general secretary Pong Liwewe said in a post-match interview at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Wednesday evening.

“And for us as an Association, it is a big achievement, it is a platform for other club’s to build on and learn from and understand how Zesco has built this success because it has been done over a long period and it is also down to good management.

“Hopefully, more of our club’s will be able to stand against the best and this can only augur well for our national team because, obviously, the stars who we expect to play in the national team come through the ranks of the leagues.

“So our expectations are that other club’s will emulate this step by Zesco and all this will be for the betterment of Zambian football.”

Zesco will face Mamelodi Sundowns in a two-legged semifinal with a September 17 home date before travelling to South Africa on September 24.