U23 Afcon: Angry Nigeria Tames Zambia 3:1 (Video Highlights)
By Iwedi Ojinmah 29 days ago
Date: November 12th 2019
Time: 7 PM
Venue: Al Salam Stadium
TV: Blackout Stream Caf Youtube
Nigeria revived their semifinal qualification hopes in the ongoing Total U-23 Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-1 win over Zambia at Al Salam Stadium, as the Group B match day 2 convened on Tuesday 12 November 2019.
The Olympic Eagles returned from behind to grab maximum points and raise their tally to three points, leading Cote d’Ivoire on goal difference, and one shy of group leaders South Africa. Zambia follow in order with a lone point before the final round of group games on Friday.
Patson Daka gave Zambia the lead after 12 minutes, ending a brilliant solo effort sending the ball past Adamu Abubakar to give Chipolopolo advantage.
But Zambia’s joy was shorty lived when Orji Okwonkwo restored parity just four minutes later, tapping the ball from close range following a corner. The first half ended with sides tied at 1-1.
Nigeria skipper Kelechi Nwakali took the lead for The Olympic Eagles sending a beautiful free-kick that wronged Zambia’s goalkeeper Mangani Banda after 65 minutes.
And deep into injury time Taiwo Awonyi made use of a swift counter attack to add Nigeria’s third of the night.
Leaders South Africa face Nigeria at Al Salam Stadium while Zambia takes on Cote d’Ivoire in a simultaneous kick off on Friday at Cairo Stadium.
Nigeria has a bad habit of putting unnecessary pressure on themselves.
Especially so in football and especially so of late
. We all saw how the Golden Eaglets had to repeatedly come from behind in Brazil at the U17 World Cup and we all witnessed how the Flying Eagles fell behind both to Libya and Sudan in Olympic qualification only to bounce back with huge games and proceed to Afcon.
The defending African champions are again in such a position after falling to the Ivory Coast in the Group B opener at the ongoing U23 Afcon in Egypt.
Considering that the RSA and Zambia, who make up the rest of group, drew 0-0 in their game Nigeria now sits alone in the group's basement with no points and must beat Zambia to keep their Tokyo Olympic hopes alive let alone retain the Continental crown.
So they again must pull a monster game out of the bag.
It will be a tough match because as we know the Zambians especially in this age group, are no joke. The Junior Chipolopolo survived a gruelling series with the DRC and despite not making their planned Europe Camp, are a bunch of tough nuts bolted in place by their savvy coach Beston Chambeshi who has the pedigree to match Imama Amapakabo tactically.
The Zambians, as usual, will walk on to the field with one hand over their heads almost arrogantly indicating that they are God's chosen team (above) , but as we also know, they will also play physical and with fluidity making one question if they are truly a southern African team or one from the West.
In any case, the Zambians have at least 3 Banda's on their team and Nigeria must pay attention to each and every one.
There is KV Oostende midfielder Emmanuel Banda (below), then the forever dangerous Lameck Banda and goalkeeper Mangani Banda. While we don't know if they are all related, what we do know is that what they have in common is restaurant-quality skill.
Meanwhile, Nigerian coach Imama Amapakabo is not in a happy place.
The grumblings at home started with the double disaster to Togo in the African Nations Championship and the Wafu Cup and while they have not turned into a full outroar to have the former Enugu Rangers gaffer dismissed, the set back against the Ivory Coast has not helped his causeRelated: Joshua To Return Home And Present IBF, WBO, WBA And IBO Belts To Buhari
However, the coach against Zambia will now have his full team at his disposal as their clubs have finally released the red hot Awonyi (above) and Captain Azubuike Okechukwu (below). He will need both as well as all other birds, come Tuesday evening not to play like fluffy cute fowl but like the birds of prey, we know that they are.
Get your popcorn ready.
Awareness Sport prediction: Nigeria 1 Zambia 0