Nigeria-Zambia Preview: Bruised egos of Eagles and Chipolopolo clash to soothe nerves
The coaches of both teams know that they cannot afford to lose this encounter or it may be curtains at the 2013 Afcon
By Babajide Alaka
Omeruo, Oboabona, Yobo, Elderson
Igiebor, Mikel, Ogude
Musa, Uche, Moses
Kasonde, Sunzu, Himoonde, Musonda
Lungu, Chansa, Kalaba, Katongo
Two bruised egos in the form of Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the defending champions Zambia will clash on Friday at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, and the likelihood is that whoever loses the match may be on the way out of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Nigeria had to share the spoils with the Burkina Faso as they surrendered their 1-0 lead very deep into added time in the second half, while the Zambians could not get one over a plucky 10-man Ethiopian team.
Stephen Keshi will be buoyed by the fact that his team almost always had the game against Burkina Faso under control until Ambrose Efe’s sending off while Herve Renard will have told his boys that they will have to up the ante to get a positive result against Nigeria.
The problem for Zambia is that they do not score many goals, and for Nigeria, chances created have to be taken.
Kenneth Omeruo will start at right-back for the Eagles while Renaud may decide to use two strikers up front with Collins Mbesuma and Emmanuel Mayuka the likely candidates.
The Super Eagles were the last team to beat the Chipolopolo in the Nations Cup, back in the 2010 edition, when Nigeria won on penalties in the quarter-finals. The Eagles also beat the Zambians in a friendly in 2011 as the Chipolopolo were preparing for the 2012 Nations Cup, which they eventually won.
So the die is cast and the team which can score two goals in this encounter will likely carry the day.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
David Chabala is the highest caps winner for Zambia with 108 appearances.
- Nigeria was the last team to beat Zambia in the Nations Cup – in 2010.
- Ike Uche will be hoping to score his 19th international goal for the Super Eagles against Zambia.
- Christopher Katongo has scored 19 goals in 79 appearances for Zambia.
- Nigeria is ranked 57th while Zambia is ranked 34th in the world.
- In Afcon tournaments, Nigeria and Zambia have scored four goals against each other.
Joseph Yobo (pictured) will win his 90th cap for the Super Eagles if he plays against Zambia
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Top 3 Predictions
Zambia 1-2 Nigeria
- 22.74 %
Zambia 0-2 Nigeria
- 16.76 %
Zambia 1-3 Nigeria
- 14.56 %
|Africa Cup of Nations (ACN)||25 Jan 2013||Zambia 1 - Nigeria 1|
|Africa Cup of Nations (ACN)||25 Jan 2010||Zambia 4 - Nigeria 5|
|4 Dec 2013||Somalia 0 - Zambia 4||CSCC|
|1 Dec 2013||Zambia 1 - Burundi 0||CSCC|
|28 Nov 2013||Tanzania 1 - Zambia 1||CSCC|
|14 Nov 2013||Egypt 2 - Zambia 0||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||Brazil 2 - Zambia 0||FR|
|14||Noah Sikombe Chivuta||Midfielder|
|3||Uwa Elderson Echiejile||Defender|
|10||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|