Gernot Rohr
Gernot Rohr

Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr has also laid down the line for his players. Despite being hit by three mind-boggling injuries in the spate of 10 days ( Leon Balogun, Victor Moses and Isaac Moses are all out) the German is still confident and did not mince words as to what he would expect.

“We go to Zambia to win and (knowing) it will be difficult because Zambia have a good team and like the three other teams in our group, any one of us could qualify for the World Cup. Our scouts watched them against Kenya (in an Afcon qualifier last month) and also noticed that the pitch in Ndola is not good, but it will be the same for both teams.”

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The stadium was completed by the Chinese firm Shanghai Construction in 2012 and hosts not just the national team since they moved from the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, but the in-form Zesco United as well. So it has had more than the normal activity and it badly needs a long spell of ‘rest’ [as shown below just before the opening ] to recover from the wear and tear as the surface is natural grass.

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For this reason Nigeria has focused on passing in the air during practice and not on the ground. The 60-man Super Eagle contingent arrives via Arik Airlines in Zambia on Saturday, and will have just one practice on the pitch that evening to check it out first hand.

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They will then square off with the Copper-Bullets on Sunday.