Nigeria and Zambia will renew rivalry once again over the weekend as they both chase the much-coveted World Cup qualification spot, so let us look distinctively at what we might come to expect of the cracker.
On paper, this one is hardly a mammoth task for Nigeria as it might have earlier looked, much thanks to the brilliance of the Super Eagles in the course of this qualification series.
And then, it looks even more simpler — after all, the general notion of navigating a Group of Death is that it should be largely arduous.
So far,it is swiftly shaping up to be anything but a gristle-like crack nut.
The Eagles have consummately blown away their group opponents by glamorous scorelines,employing swashbuckling displays,cheer steeliness in execution and that churning desire to get the job finished is expected to dutifully come to fore when the ball gets rolling again in Uyo on Saturday.
A victory(or a draw) for Rohr’s led Eagles would all but secure qualification and though the Chipolopolo are still within a shouting chance of nicking it from their opponents if they can,themselves, equally muster a win.
It is scarcely within foresight to postulate anything like such upset by the time Joshua Bondo calls for time to signal the end of the likely grueling duel.
As far as official head to head records go, the Super Eagles do have the upper hand too: in 17 previous meetings between them, Nigeria have won seven,shared spoils five times and only five of those had gone in the favour of Zambia.
It might not necessarily look an accurately decisive record-book to work with, after all,the Super Eagles had it all to work for in Ndola last year.
And now the 2012 AFCON champions do have everything to play for in hope of a maiden appearance at the World Cup in 2018, they should be no pushovers, needless to say they would be willingly out to get one over their opposition and as well, crash their looming party.
This might yet prove to be the sternest examination of Nigeria’s strengths— mentally and physically, the final hurdle to scale towards achieving an overdue aim and it is overly imperative that it is approached with every bit of business-like attitude.
While Zambia would be playing the underdogs, the 2-0 loss to South Africa in a recent Nations Cup qualifier is still very fresh in memory and should be serving up a decent warning — underrating these willy Copper Bullets would be to our own perils.
More so, the East African nation would not have picked a better time to face Nigeria.
Buoyed by their back to back victories over Algeria during the previous international week, they would be looking to continue such hot streak of form synchronously; with another giant-killing of sorts, it can’t just get any better.
For participating in the World Cup, Zambia or Nigeria, will receive a minimum of $12 million (equivalent of N4.3 billion), and that amount will rise if they make it to the knockout rounds.
The preparation fee for the 32 qualified nations is expected to be in the region of $2 million while $10 million will be paid to the sixteen eliminated teams in the group stage.