Less than 72 hours, Nigeria and Zambia, will trade tackle in Uyo for Group B’s sole ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Super Eagles are certain to be at their sixth Mundial should they overcome the Zambians who are seriously on their heels.
However, the Chipolopolo are in confident mood after slaying Algeria twice in three days.
Nonetheless, the odds are still very much in favour of Gernot Rohr’s side.
Here are four reasons why Nigerians shouldn’t panic ahead of the crunch encounter.
- Never lost to Zambia at home
It’s on record that the Super Eagles have never slumped at home in any game whatsoever against the South Africans. Nigeria have played host to the Zambians six times, winning four and drawing just once. History could repeat itself at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium come Saturday.
- Unbeaten in the qualifiers
Another positive for Nigerians is that their darling Super Eagles have not tasted defeat in the ongoing World Cup qualifying series. Not Cameroon, not even Algeria nor the Zambians have managed to do that. The three-time African champions won three of their four games including a 2-1 victory away in Zambia. All things being equal, another victory could be on the cards for the Nigerians.
- Zambia jinxed at international level
The Chipolopolo may be one of the dominant forces in African football, having won the Africa Cup of Nations but the Copper nation have consistently fumbled at each attempt to make it to the biggest stage. Zambia have never qualified for the FIFA World while Nigeria are regular customers, making it to five of the last six editions.
- No injury worries for Eagles
Unlike Zambia, there isn’t any injury headache for coach Rohr. Top scorer, Brian Mwila and influential midfielder, Emmanuel Banda, have been ruled out for the Chipolopolo due to injury. In contrast, Nigeria coaches have a luxury of fit players to choose from, including Alex Iwobi who was unavailable against Cameroon.