On the evening of April 30, 2023, Nigeria will face Zambia in the opening Group B game of the 2023 CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations in the Algerian city of Constantine.
Soccernet.ng reports that two-time winners, Golden Eaglets, will be seeking to begin their quest for a third title with a victory over the Junior Chipolopolo.
Having appeared in the competition more times than any other team in history, the Eaglets have a formidable track record in the tournament, and they will be hoping to make a strong start to their campaign.
Nigeria has a perfect record against Zambia at this level, having won the only match they have played against each other.
The two sides met at this level for the first time in 2015, with Nigeria emerging victorious with a 3-1 win in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Victor Osimhen scored two of the Golden Eaglets’ goals in that game, and Kelechi Nwakali netted the other. Zambia’s only goal came from their captain, Patson Daka.
The Golden Eaglets arrived in Constantine on Tuesday night after MRI tests were conducted on the 26 players in Algiers following their arrival in the North African country from Egypt.
Coached by Nduka Ugbade, the Eaglets’ preparation has been nearly perfect, with the team winning ten of the eleven matches it played against local clubs and academies.
The AFCON is a different ball game entirely, and the Nigerian lads will need to show humility and character to make it past a Group B, which also features South Africa and Morocco.
Zambia will be keen to demonstrate that they are no pushovers, as shown in their recent results. The Chipolopolo’s only loss has been against Zambian top-flight club Napsa Stars.
However, the youngsters bounced back impressively, defeating hosts Algeria 4-2 in a friendly match played in Algiers after posting a similar result over Senegal.
Tournament: 2023 CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations, Group B
Game: Nigeria vs Zambia
Venue: Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui, Constantine
Date: April 30, 2023
Time: 5 pm (Nigerian time)
Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets have a strong record in this competition and will be confident of beginning their campaign with a win against Zambia.
The fact that they have won their previous encounter against Zambia at this level will give them an added boost of confidence.
However, Zambia cannot be underestimated and will be eager to cause an upset.
It is likely to be a closely contested game, but Nigeria’s experience and track record in the competition may just give them the edge.
Therefore, the prediction for the match is a 2-1 win for the Golden Eaglets.