Memories of the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations finals are likely to be replayed this evening when Nigeria’s Super Eagles face Chipolopolo of Zambia in the 2010 AFCON quarter-finals in Lubango, Angola.
President of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), Kalusha Bwalya, was captain when Zambia last clashed with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations. Speaking to MTNFootball.com, Kalusha Bwalya, said that the current squad has shown their mettle against top teams in the continent and can claim the Super Eagles' scalp on the way to the final.
“We are very delighted to be through to the quarter-final after 14 years. We feel liberated, extremely pleased, with a lot of confidence that this team can show what they are capable of,” Bwalya said.
“The target was to get to the quarter-final, which has not been achieved for a long time. Every other thing on the way would be a bonus, but we feel confident that anything can happen now.”
Asked about the Nigeria quarter-final challenge, Bwalya observed: “We will look at Nigeria now; we did not concentrate on them before now. We have time to look at them in more details. We played against them in Durban in a friendly. The stakes were different then and we are very conscious of that. It was important for us to play against a team like Nigeria at the time we did in South Africa. We did not know that we would meet at this stage of the tournament. Everything put together, we do not expect anything less than a cup final. When we started, every game was a cup final for us and this will be an even more daunting cup final for us.
“We all said before the friendly in Durban that this was the first time Zambia were meeting Nigeria since that game in 1994. We all understand how important it is to meet a team like the Super Eagles, who have a good coach and exceptionally talented players. We hope we can play as well as we have played to stand a chance of going through to the next round.”
Zambia will be facing Nigeria at 19.30GMT in Lubango. Nigeria's coach, Amodu Shaibu is set to field the same squad that spanked Mozambique 3-0 in the third round of the group mathces to book a place in the quarter-finals of the African cup of nations.