Zambia have prepared as though they are to face a wounded lion in Nigeria’s Dream Team when both sides meet in a crunch U23 AFCON tournament group stage encounter slated for later on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, according to coach Beston Chambeshi.
Defending champions Nigeria surprisingly lost their opening match 0-1 to Ivory Coast to sit bottom of Group and now face a must-win game against Zambia, who picked a vital point in a drab draw with South Africa.
Only two teams will qualify from each group and only the final three teams will qualify to represent the continent at the Olympic Games.
Zambia’s coach Beston Chambeshi is not unaware that a difficult match awaits his boys in Cairo.
“Nigeria are like a wounded lion, it will not be an easy match. They will give everything for the victory but we are prepared to face them,” Chambeshi told Cafonline as monitored by Soccernet.ng.
Zambia’s influential defender, Prosper Chiluya, is however confident that his teammates are ready to shoot down the Olympics Eagles.
“Facing Nigeria won’t be a walk in the park. They need a win, the same applies for us. The coach will put the suitable strategy, and we are ready to deliver,” said Chiluya.
Holders Nigeria have a pedigree at this level, though. Nigeria are the first ever African team to achieve glory in the history of the Olympics with gold medals in Atlanta 1996.
Present team coach, Imama Amapakabo, knows his lads cannot afford an early exit which will happen if they lose to Zambia, who have not made it to the quadrennial event in thirty-one years.
“All teams are equal in this tournament. We know what we have to do after losing the first match,” said Imama Amapakabo.
“Two games remain to be won to keep in the competition. We lost nothing yet.”
The Dream Team failed to deliver against Ivory Coast but Nigeria forward, Ibrahim Sunusi, is optimistic that a better result should be expected this time as the boys are ready to give their maximum.
“We are going to prepare ourselves well for Zambia. In the field, we will give everything and the rest belongs to God,” Sunusi confirmed.