The Battle line is drawn. Today at the Mhombela Stadium in Nelspruit, two continental soccer giants, Zambia and Nigeria, would be involved in a battle of supremacy at the ongoing 28th Africa Cup of Nations.
Zambia, who are the reigning champions, played a surprise 1-1 draw against Ethiopia on Monday and must bounce back with a win in today's match against the Super Eagles, who also fumbled to a 1-1 draw with the Stallions of Burkina Stadium in their opening match.
Neither team can afford another slip-up today and for Zambian skipper, Christopher Katongo, the Chipolopolo need to improve and work harder in the crunch clash against the Eagles.
While stating that they were not under pressure to beat Nigeria, Katongo said that the draw against the Burkinabes has raised the stakes of today's match with the Eagles to a whole new level.
"We are not under any pressure. But we acknowledge that after the game against Ethiopia, that we need to improve and work harder and that for sure is what we will do. It is fair that Ethiopia got a draw from this match, they deserved it but as defending champions, it is not a fair result to get.
"It is now up to us to take up the challenge and rise to the challenge by raising our game against the Nigerians. We have to take the battle to them and hope for the best," Katongo added
Also speaking, Coach Herve Renard, who said that the draw lagainst the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia looked like a loss, noted that the Chipolopolo need to restart their campaign in the remaining AFCON Group C matches against Nigeria and Burkina Faso on Tuesday next week.
"We have to restart the stop watch in the remaining two games. For us, the draw looks like a loss. We should have beaten Ethiopia but we underrated them," Renard said