Zambia brace themselves for their biggest game against Nigeria since the 1994 Africa Cup final, when they meet in a crucial penultimate 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B qualifier in Uyo tomorrow.
The match is a make-or-break affair for both sides on Saturday as the business end on the road to Russia reaches its climax.
A win for Nigeria this weekend will see them qualify from Group B with a match to spare and earn them their sixth World Cup qualification.
But victory for Zambia will deny Nigeria that objective and see Group B decided on November 7 when they face Cameroon at home and Algeria away respectively.
Nigeria have 10 points, three more than 2nd placed Zambia.
Cameroon is 3rd on 3 points two more than bottom placed Algeria and are both out of contention.
Zambia head into the match seeking revenge for their only Group B loss to date after Nigeria beat those 2-1 in Ndola on match-day-one on October 9, 2016 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Since then, Zambia are unbeaten at home and away inGroup B after drawing 1-1 in Limbe with Cameroon and beating Algeria 3-1 in Lusaka and 1-0 on the road in Constantine.
Importantly, the back-to-back triumphs over Algeria have given Zambia the momentum heading this weekend’s game.
But Zambia head into the match limping with goalkeeper and Captain Kennedy Mweene and striker Patson Daka restricted to light training after arriving in camp with injuries.
The development is not good news for coach Wedson Nyirenda who is already without key striker Brian Mwila who will miss the match due to a knee injury he sustained on September 2 in Zambia’s home victory over Algeria in a match he scored a brace.
Mwila is also Zambia’s top scorer in 2017 with 7 goals from eight games,one goal more than Justin Shonga could slot in for Daka.
And another attacking option Fashion Sakala returns after serving a one-match suspension to ease the setbacks.
Meanwhile, emotions are high heading into this match with Zambia seeking a significant win over Nigeria who beat them to the 1994 AFCON title.
Denting Nigeria’s qualification hopes this weekend will be a double revenge against Nigeria who has yet to lose at home to Zambia in four meetings since 1973.
Zambia’s best result away in Nigeria has been a 0-0 draw in the 1986 qualifiers.
Nigeria’s record over Zambia currently stands at seven wins, five draws and as many losses.