Nigeria’s Mikel John Obi (C) celebrates with teammates William Ekong (L) and Odion Ighalo after scoring a goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on September 1, 2017. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP
- Clash will be more psychological than physical, says Nyirenda
Super Eagles’ Captain, Mikel John Obi has declared that though the three –time African champions have respect for 2012 AFCON winners, Zambia, the total commitment to ensuring early qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals will see Nigeria wrap up the campaign next weekend in Uyo.
Captain Mikel, who has had a marvelous run in the qualifying series, playing commendable leadership role, told thenff.com that he is fully dedicated to the assignment of leading his teammates out on the turf of Godswill Akpabio Stadium to secure the sole ticket in Group B on October 7.
“I must admit that I applaud the resurgence of the Zambians this late in the qualifiers. Beating Algeria home and away is no mean feat. We will take them very serious on October 7 because they clearly have a new spirit. It is time we wrap this up.”
Speaking further on the relative smooth run the Eagles have had in this campaign compared to earlier FIFA World Cup qualifying races, the former Chelsea FC of England midfielder pinpointed professionalism, determination and ambition as the factors that have swung the pendulum Nigeria’s way, whilst also heaping praises on Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr.
“We have all shown professionalism, dedication and determination to be at the pole position in a group tagged ‘Group of Death.’ “Commendations must go to the entire team and the Coach, but we must finish it up in Uyo and secure our ticket right there,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Joshua Bondo, a 39 –year old referee from Botswana who has been an international arbiter for the past 10 years, will take charge of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying cracker between Nigeria and Zambia in Uyo.
World football –ruling body FIFA has appointed Bondo alongside his countrymen Oamogetse Godisamang (40, an international assistant referee since year 2010), who will serve as Assistant Referee 1, and Tirelo Mositwane (30, an international referee since 2013), who will serve as Fourth Official. Souru Phatsoane from Lesotho will be the Assistant Referee 2.
Mr. Carlos Manuel Neves Henriques from South Africa will be the Referee Assessor while Sudanese Osama Hassan Ataaelmanan, who was Match Commissioner for the Day 4 clash between the Super Eagles and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Yaounde on 4th September, will repeat the same role in Uyo on October 7.
Meanwhile, Zambian national team coach, Wedson Nyirenda has warned that the game against the Super Eagles of Nigeria will need a strong psychological approach, reports africanfootball.com.
Chipolopolo will visit Nigeria for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on October 7 as they look to book a spot at the tournament in Russia. Nyirenda says he is preparing his troops mentally and anticipates a tough encounter in West Africa next weekend.
“This game will be highly psychological, therefore we are working on their mental strength before the match,” Nyirenda tells FAZ website. “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.
“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… we are not going to be big headed because we beat Algeria we are focused on looking at Nigeria only.”