Super Eagle captain, John Obi Mikel, has assured that he and his teammates are battle-ready for Sunday’s 2018 World Cup qualifying match away to Zambia.
Nigeria at the moment enjoys a better head-to-head record over Zambia and the Super Eagles are keen not just to preserve that advantage but also to start their World Cup qualification quest on a good note.
“We are all looking forward to the qualifying matches, starting with Sunday’s game in Zambia. Each and every one of us knows what it means – big battles that we have to win. We are ready for the challenge,” Mikel was quoted as saying in a press statement issued by the NFF.
Nigeria has won six of 16 previous matches with Zambia at international level, drawing five and losing five.
Zambia walloped Nigeria 5-1 in the first –ever encounter, a 1974 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Lusaka on July 15, 1973. Nigeria’s 3-2 win in the return leg in Lagos two weeks later was of no effect.
Both teams battled to a 0-0 draw in Accra at the 1978 Cup of Nations, but Zambia then gained two successive 3-0 wins over Nigeria – a friendly in Lusaka in 1981 and a group phase clash at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya.
However, the Zambians have not beaten the Eagles in a competitive match in the past 31 years.
Nigeria edged a memorable Africa Cup of Nations final in Tunis in 1994, and then prevailed over the Zambians 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the quarter –finals of the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola.
None of the 16 previous clashes was a World Cup qualifying match.
After playing Zambia away on Sunday, the Eagles will host Algeria on November 12 before four more games next year.
Past meetings between Nigeria and Zambia
15 July 1973: Zambia 5 Nigeria 1 (Lusaka, AFCON Qualifier)
29 July 1973: Nigeria 3 Zambia 2 (Lagos, AFCON Qualifier)
10 March 1978: Zambia 0 Nigeria 0 (Accra, Africa Cup of Nations)
25 July 1981: Zambia 3 Nigeria 0 (Lusaka, International friendly)
13 March 1982: Nigeria 0 Zambia 3 (Benghazi, AFCON)
10 August 1985: Nigeria 0 Zambia 0 (Lagos, AFCON Qualifier)
18 August 1985: Zambia 1 Nigeria 0 (Lusaka, AFCON Qualifier)
12 March 1990: Nigeria 2 Zambia 0 (Annaba, AFCON)
10 April 1994: Nigeria 2 Zambia 1 (Tunis, AFCON final)
15 December 1997: Zambia 2 Nigeria 0 (Lusaka, International friendly)
17 December 1997: Zambia 0 Nigeria 0 (Kitwe, International friendly)
13 January 2001: Nigeria 1 Zambia 0 (Lagos, AFCON Qualifier)
24 March 2001: Zambia 1 Nigeria 1 (Chingola, AFCON Qualifier)
25 January 2010: Zambia 0 Nigeria 0 (Lubango, AFCON. Nigeria won 5-4 on penalties)
15 November 2011: Nigeria 2 Zambia 0 (Kaduna, International friendly)
25 January 2013: Zambia 1 Nigeria 1 (Nelspruit, AFCON