24 January 2013

Zambia/Nigeria: Nigeria Running Scared - FAZ

THE Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has said there is no need for fans to worry about Zambia's prospects at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as it is Nigeria who were running scared about facing the Chipolopolo tomorrow.

FAZ vice-president Boniface Mwamelo said yesterday that while the 1-1 draw against a 10-man Ethiopia was not as pleasing, the team had managed to unwind and were ready to raise their game and Nigeria were well aware of that fact.

"I have been with the team in Nelspruit and I am going back to rejoin them, the guys (players) are focused. The mood is great and the players are focused. The vibe coming from the Nigeria camp says they are running scared of Zambia.

"So the fans need not worry. Team captain Chris Katongo told me that the team knows exactly what is needed after that draw and they also know what to do, so fans should not worry but support the team," Mwamelo said.

Mwamelo admitted that the 1-1 draw was disappointing especially because Zambia as African champions were expected to take the game and be on the way to the last eight.

He, however, said Zambia were still on track to retain the AFCON.

Despite the disappointing result, Mwamelo said the way the match was played, showed how tough a side Ethiopia was and that no team in the group would have it easy against the Walya Antelope.

He said Ethiopia, who are showing up at the Nations Cup for the first time in 31 years, played a hugely disciplined game and should be given credit for their performance.

Mwamelo also said that Zambia was still the team to beat at AFCON and would definitely bring back the title, adding that the mood was great especially that transport either by road or air into Nelspruit was fully booked on Friday.

And veteran soccer commentator and FAZ Life Member Dennis Liwewe echoed Mwamelo's sentiments, saying Zambia would deliver results in the second game against Nigeria.

Liwewe said the Chipolopolo's biggest undoing in the first game was the pressure they had going into the AFCON title defence crusade.

He said just as South Africa were under pressure from the 54 million citizens when facing an island (Cape Verde) of 500 000 people, so was the Chipolopolo, whose case was made worse as it was not just the 13 million Zambians but the entire continent.

"But they (players) are settled now, no pressure and come Friday, Nigeria will be made to dance chikokoshi," Liwewe said.

Copyright © 2013 The Times of Zambia. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.