Win or bust for Nigeria and Zambia
It will be win or bust when the Super Eagles of Nigeria battle the Chipolopolo of Zambia as action resumes in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Group C on Friday afternoon at the Mbombela Stadium, kick-off at 5pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).
The match is expected to be a tough slug as both sides will be gunning for the three points at stake if they are to keep their hopes of advancing to next stage of the competition alive after both faltered in their group openers.
Group C is wide open after Ethiopia forced defending champions Zambia to a 1-1 draw on Monday and Nigeria were also held by the same scoreline by Burkina Faso.
Nigeria and Zambia have met 16 times at full international level with five victories apiece while there have been six drawn matches.
The first meeting of the two sides was on October 28, 1973, in a 1974 Nations Cup qualifier which Zambia easily won 5-1.
However, history favours Nigeria as far as the Nations Cup is concerned as they have beaten the Chipolopolo four times out of five meetings at this stage of the tournament.
Both sides have been talking tough ahead of the game as they know the importance of the match.
Eagles defender Godfrey Oboabona said they have learnt from their mistakes against Burkina Faso and that they are now gunning for victory against Zambia.
"We are all disappointed that we couldn't beat Burkina Faso in our opening match due to some errors, but that is behind us as we have learnt lessons and we are ready to beat Zambia. We only have to be decisive," Oboabona declared.
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel said the game is a do or die affair as Nigeria’s qualification to next round is tied to a victory over Zambia on Friday at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
"It is a do or die game. We are very much aware of the situation we have found ourselves. We have to win the game because a win could well assure us of moving to the next stage,” said Mikel.
“It’s a must-win game for us. We know it is going to be tough but we are ready for the battle and going for victory."