Cyril C. NwokejiTuesday, September 26, 2017


he Super Eagles of Nigeria, having come thus far, in the World cup qualifying series, and having done quite well, have a special date with "destiny"; a "rendezvous" of sorts with fate, on the 7th of October, 2017. On that date, they would have a special opportunity, to seal their qualification to the World cup tournament in Russia, in 2018. It 's going to be an opportunity, that shouldn't be wasted! The fact they would have this opportunity, before their teeming supporters in Uyo, Nigeria, makes it all the more special; and the fact they would need just a point, to get the ticket, makes it a sort of a "once- in- a- life- time" opportunity, to get a ticket to a major soccer tournament, like the World cup!

The question at this juncture is: Will they go for it and get this ticket; preferably through a resounding victory over the "Chipolopolos"? Or will they let the chance slip up? Letting the chance slip up, at home, will not mean the end of Nigeria's World cup dreams, but may put the Super Eagles in a sort of qualification "dire straights", that could result in the ticket being much more difficult to get. It would mean having to get the ticket in Algeria, against a host Nation, who though are eliminated from the race, may be difficult to upstage at home, since all that is left for them now is to defend their national pride in soccer. In other words there can be no better place to get the ticket than in Nigeria, come 7th October, 2017; and not with the minimum required for qualification: a draw, but the absolute maximum: a resounding victory, over the "Chipolopolo" of Zambia!!!!!!

One must hasten to add that the Super Eagles, would confront a Zambian team, that would be much more difficult to beat than the team that was defeated at home, in October, 2016. The Zambian team has since undergone enormous transformation, re-enforced, by some of their under-20 players, that got to the quarter-finals of the 2017 under-20 World cup tournament; and of course buoyed by their latest resurgence: a drawn game in Yaounde, Cameroun, against the reigning African champions, Cameroun; and back-to-back victories against the "Dessert Fox", of Algeria! It would be a hard match for Nigeria. Further against this back drop, Zambia, has in the past proved to be a "bogey" team of sorts for Nigeria. Apart from being sometimes difficult to defeat, they have sometimes denied Nigeria the big prize:

In the 1982 Nations' cup tournament, in Libya, in the last groups' match, Nigeria needed a minimum of a draw, to qualify, for the semi-finals, in the match against Zambia; but were roundly defeated, 3-0, by Zambia. Nigeria, even as defending champions, thus, got eliminated in the preliminaries!

In 1985, Zambia once again stood between Nigeria and qualification for the 1986 Nations' cup tournament, in Egypt; by eeking out a goalless draw in Nigeria, in the first leg of the final qualifier, and then defeated the Super Eagles, 1-0, in Zambia.

In the final match of the 1994 Nations' cup tournament, a depleted Zambian team, depleted as a result of the air crash that killed most of their players, in 1993, nearly upstaged a star-studded Nigerian team. The Super Eagles eeked out a 2-1, victory. The Zambians put up a spirited fight in that match, and nearly upstaged the Super Eagles, more especially in the last twenty minutes of the game. Their mercurial Skipper: Kalusha Bwalya, even hit the upright of Nigeria's goal, with a thunderbolt, struck from about thirty meters! The Zambians, are fighters, and never give up!

At the 2013 Nations' cup tournament, the Zambians held the Super Eagles, to a 1-1 draw.

The question at this juncture is: Is it doable ? Are the Zambians beatable ? Meethinks yes; very well so!!!! The Super Eagles have got the talent, experience, stamina, hunger, anger, determination, ambition and desire to get the job done and accomplish their lofty objective!

What could possibly stand in their way? Meethinks: Complacency!!!!!! The Super Eagles have in the past exhibited this laxity, to their disadvantage. The Super Eagles should approach the match with the mind set of a cup final!!!!! Nigerians are goal getters, when they mean it, they can do it! Nigerians do well in all spheres of life, all over the globe. Nigerians are proven achievers! The Super Eagles have proven themselves before, even against the greatest soccer teams on this planet: they have defeated Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain,Russia, to mention a few of Nigeria's big conquests in soccer. If the Super Eagles can keep their feet firmly on the ground, with their eyes firmly fixed on the target, all things being equal, they would resoundly defeat the Zambians. Regardless of how the Zambians approach the match, even if they build a wall of "Kilimanjaro" around their goal area, a highly motivated, rampaging, ravaging Super Eagles' attack, under impuls of an adventureous mid-field, would sweep away their defensive barrier, and get the needed goals!

On a final note, regardless of the qualities of the Zambians, a highly motivated Super Eagles, would have all it takes to defeat them and get the ticket, at home, in Uyo; then the champagne bottles, presently in the refrigerator, would be opened and the celebrations would get started!!!!! The Super Eagles deserve it, Nigerians deserve it!!!!!!

Alleeez Boys go! Go Super Eagles go! Go and take out the Zambians and let's celebrate!

"Gini ji zi nkita onwu?"

Yours sincerely believes in the Super Eagles of Nigeria; and you?

"Anyi bu nkwa"!