Zambia faces Nigeria this afternoon away in a must win Russia 2018 Group B clash at Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo. Both sides come into this titanic clash on the back of a good run of results with Nigeria having tucked away a win and a draw over Cameroun in the last round of qualifiers while Zambia bagged six points over Algeria.
According to Fazfootball.com, the infusion of U-20 starlets that won the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil and had a quarterfinal finish at the FIFA World Cup has given Zambia a reinvigorated outlook with their race to Russia revived. Coach Wedson Nyirenda will welcome back Spartak Moscow’s Fashion Sakala who missed the second leg against Algeria due to a red card and will be part of a speedy frontline that will also have Orlando Pirates signee Justin Shonga, Patson Daka and Augustine Mulenga.
Nyirenda could opt to add Liefering midfielder Enock Mwepu to energize his attack with Kondwani Mtonga expected to hold things down in midfield. Skipper Kennedy Mweene will commandeer his troops from the goal area while Ziyo Tembo and Stoppilla Sunzu will partner at the heart of defence. The winning back positions will be taken up by Simon Silwimba and Fackon Kapumbu.
Nyirenda has also a prospective option in attack in the jet-heeled Ernest ‘Alteeza’ Mbewe. Zambia should be wary of the danger posed by a front-loaded Nigeria attack that has Odion Ighalo, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho among others. Zambia has been known to come to the party when the stakes are high with the motivation to defeat Super Eagles in their backyard.
Nigeria leads Group B on 10 points and is itching to wrap up the tussle but a resurgent Zambia, hot on their heels with seven points, believe they could still make it to Russia with the group still open. Cameroun and Algeria have fallen off on three and one point respectively.
The two sides have met 17 times, with Zambia winning five times and drawing as many games while Nigeria has come tops on seven occasions.
Pay television channel SuperSport will beam the match live on SS3, SS9 and select at 17:15 hours.