Super Eagles’ Simon Moses (right) and Kenneth Omeruo trying to stop Chipolopolo’s Colin Mbesuma during the first leg of their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier in Ndola. Nigeria will host the Zambians in Uyo…on October 7. PHOTO: AFP
• Adelabu, Esu warn against complacency, Zambia’s coach dream victory
As Nigerians look forward to the October 7 World Cup qualifying make or break clash against Zambia in Uyo, former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu and former Shooting Stars of Ibadan handler, Godfrey Esu have advised coach Gernot Rohr to prepare a ‘mobile squad’ for the Eagles to fly past the Chipolopolo.
“After beating Algeria home and away, the Zambians now consider themselves the best candidate from the Group,” Adelabu said in a chat with The Guardian yesterday. “And from what I saw in their last match, the Chipolopolo have a squad that is capable of causing a big damage to our World Cup ambition in Uyo. What coach Gernot Rohr should do is to prepare a team that is very mobile. A player like Victor Moses, for instance, should be told not to waste too much time holding on to the ball.
“The Super Eagles must be made to understand that playing a make or break match of this magnitude at home carries a lot of pressure. The Zambians are very aggressive now, and they will do every thing possible to show their aggressiveness on the pitch by trying to mark out Nigerian players who will pose a problem for them. This is where experience will come into play.
We have Mikel Obi in the midfield, but I whether he is now fit enough to last longer on the pitch than he did against Cameroun. If the Zambians discover any loophole in our midfield, they will capitalize on it. This match in Uyo is what we need to secure our qualification to Russia 2018 World Cup, and the Eagles must not disappoint,” Adelabu stated.
Also speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Coach Godfrey Esu, who has managed many Nigerian football clubs in the local league, including Julius Berger FC of Lagos, Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Gateway FC, Abeokuta, Enyimba of Aba, Crown FC of Ogbomoso, Delta Force of Asaba and Bendel Insurance of Benin City, sounded optimistic that the Eagles would cage the Chipolopolo in Uyo, but counseled that that the team’s handlers must be able to select only the best players for the tie.
Meanwhile, Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda has warned his players to either be mentally ready for the match against the Eagles or face the exit door, According to reports in Zambian media yesterday, Nyirenda set the tone for the battle of Uyo by psyching his players that the match will be highly psychological hence the need to be mentally ready.
“This game will be highly psychological, therefore we are working on their mental strength before the match. Every player and everyone on our bench know and believe that this time is our time. God can only show you the fish and it up to you to fish it out,” he said.
“Looking at the way we worked against Algeria home and away it tells a lot of stories. The boys now know and believe it can be done. Nigeria is a different team, and we are not going to be big headed because we beat Algeria. We are focused on Nigeria only.”