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Bwalya, Ighalo disagree over Nigeria, Zambia World Cup qualifier


Odion Ighalo. PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Zambian football legend, Kalusha Bwalya and Super Eagles’ Odion Ighalo have different opinions on Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier, which the Southern Africans must win to remain in contention for the ticket to Russia.

Bwalya, who led his country to a 1-2 loss to Nigeria in the final of the Tunisia 1994 Nations Cup, believes the Zambians now have the capacity to win Saturday’s FIFA World Cup qualifier.

He said the Chipolopolo did exceptionally well against Algeria in the last two games and that the previous result against Nigeria in Ndola is history.


“This Saturday game will be a high pressure game and I feel with Nigeria playing at home they will be more under pressure which could work to Zambia’s advantage.

“I have always had great respect for the Super Eagles and it’s array of world-class players but if there is a team that can beat Nigeria in Nigeria, it’s Zambia,” Bwalya said.

The 1988 African footballer of the year feels that the Chipolopolo have the right ammunition to break down the Eagles.
Bwalya acknowledges that the addition of young players from the U-20 has brought new dimension to the squad and the experience of Kennedy Mweene and Stophila Sunzu will be needed now more than ever in the encounter.

He describes the match as the most important game in the qualifiers for Wedson Nyirenda’s boys.

“It is important to acknowledge the value of the Nigeria encounter and that it’s the most important game Zambia will play in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

“The current squad has players who can score at any given opportunity and the boys are in good form coming into this match,” he said

Dampening Bwalya’s optimism, Super Eagles’ striker, Odion Ighalo says his teammates know what is at stake and therefore are ready to beat Zambia to the three points on Saturday.

A Nigerian victory in Uyo will make the final match in Algeria a mere formality, as the Eagles’ 13 points will be unassailable to any other team in the Group B of the African qualifying series.

Speaking yesterday, Ighalo said the Eagles would go the extra mile to ensure victory against the boastful Zambians and qualify for the World Cup.

“What the Zambians are trying to do is a mind game. But they are a good team and we respect them. Definitely, the match is not going to be an easy one but at the end, we are going to beat them.

“We will be more determined than we did in our last game against Cameroun. We must work together, play together for us to beat them. The Zambians cannot stop us because we have the experience and quality players that can stand against any team in Africa and even in the world,” he said.

Ighalo, who opened scoring in the 4-0 demolition of the Africa champions, Cameroun, in the last match played in Uyo, said Eagles are in no way afraid of the Chipolopolo.

“The same way we are talking about them, that is exactly how they are talking about us too over there. They have a good team, no doubt about that, but we do not care what they are bringing in at the end of the day.

“At the end of the day, it is going to be 11 against 11 players on the pitch. We are going to work hard, give our best and put our strategies in place and all that because we know what is at stake. We are going to come out victorious as we are going to get the job done in Uyo come Saturday by God’s grace,” he said assuredly.

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