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Nigeria faces a different and transformed Chipolopolo after one year

Twelve months ago, Nigeria traveled to Zambia for a World Cup qualifier match against the Chipolopolo on 9th October 2016 and by the time the Super Eagles left the country, they were all smiles as they had gotten off to a perfect start in the qualifiers with three points in the bag via a 2 – 1 victory.

Two Nigerian prodigies, Alex Iwobi and Iheanacho Ikelechi had had given the visitors a two goal cushion going into the second half with Collins Mbesuma scoring the face saver in the 71st minute.

At this point, Zambia’s world cup dream seemed to have been over before it even seen the light of day.

Needless to say this was coach Wedson Nyirenda’s first game in-charge of the Chipolopolo.

Fast track to today….. Zambian fans have renewed hope in the dream for a maiden World Cup appearance.

The turnaround has been remarkable in the qualifiers since that loss to Nigeria. It first started with a draw away against the African Champions Cameroon, a game which many thought Zambia could have won.

This was followed by back to back wins against Algeria at home and away.

There is a feeling that the hard decisions Wada Wada has made in regenerating the team with the inclusion of the U20 players and the dropping of the ‘old favorites’ who won the Africa Cup in 2012 may be paying off.

In the first leg, Mbesuma (then 32) was the oldest player in the team while Nathan Sinkala (then 25) was the youngest.

In this his current team, Wada Wada has 31 year old skipper Kennedy Mweene as the oldest player with 18 year old Patson Daka as the youngest player who is likely to start alongside fellow temager Enock Mwepu (19).

Zambia XI v Nigeria (09.10.2016)

16 Kennedy Mweene 12 Kabaso Chongo 3 Fackson Kapumbu 4 Adrian Chama (Kondwani Mtonga) 13 Stopilla Sunzu 19 Nathan Sinkala 17 Rainford Kalaba 10 Fwayo Tembo (Rogers Kola) 11 Chisamba Lungu 9 Collins Mbesuma 8 Winston Kalengo (Jackson Mwanza)

Of the team that started and lost to Nigeria at home, only Kennedy Mweene, Stopilla Sunzu, Chisamba Lungu and Fackson Kapumbu remain in the current squad including Kondwani Mtonga who came in a substitute.

Of the four, Mweene, Sunzu and Chisamba played against the Nigeria when the two teams last met in the 1 – draw at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January 2013.

Zambia XI v Algeria – Most recent game (05.09.2017)

16 Kennedy Mweene 6 Simon Silwimba 20 Fackson Kapumbu 19 Ziyo Tembo 13 Stopilla Sunzu 23 Kondwani Mtonga 17 Augustine Mulenga 14 Enock Mwepu  12 Justin Shonga (Alex Ng’onga 60’) 10 Patson Daka (Donashano Malama) 2 Ernest Mbewe (Emmanuel Banda 90’)

While Nigeria may look to ride on the result in Ndola, they will be facing a totally different team this time around. The combination of youth and experience makes the Chipolopolo look a very formidable team – A team resilient enough to hold their own and pick maximum points despite being a man down against Algeria at home. A team strong enough to hold their own and pick maximum points in front of a packed 45,000 seater Mohamed-Hamlaoui Stadium in Constatine Algeria.

In the photo – Teenagers Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka celebrate Mwepu’s goal against Algeria

36 Comments to Nigeria faces a different and transformed Chipolopolo after one year

  1. GODWIN EVOH says:

    The question that is worth asking is..Is Nigeria also having the same team that played Zambia in 2016?

    Another thing to consider is: If Nigeria has the same team, don’t you think they have jelled and have gotten better understanding of themselves?

    What are their strengths, can Zambia neutralize them? Who are their weakest links?

    We seem not to even know the Nigerian team and their individual players. How can we be so sure that beating them is simply simple.

    These reports should be balanced in order not to create a false hope for Zambians.

    • Nelly says:

      God bless you for this questions. All i keep seeing and hearing is the Zambian team has regenerated, do people want to tell me the Nigerian team as been static or retrogressive?, Patriotism is good but a bit of logical reasoning has to be applied.

      • Luapula bize says:

        @Nelly: this is exactly what is happening in the Nigerian media aswel. There is no balance at all. Last night, i watched a Nigerian sports program that made me laugh and wonder, because of how unbalanced the so called Nigerian soccer analysts were! Oh poor boy, the moderator too was something else!

    • Tembo says:

      The reality will hit home quickly tomorrow. One thing is sure, if Zambia can even score a single goal against Nigeria then they have arrived in footballing terms. Nigeria is not Algeria and if Chipolopolo goes into that match with that mindset then it will be a wholesome disaster. Pulling a draw against Cameroon was the biggest achievement and if they can do same against Nigeria then its a big one.

  2. Ernest 9ja says:

    Zambia may be transformed but i also want to let u know that nigeria is also transform and ready for the zambian’s. A year ago we played without mikel, victor moses, moses simon ighalo, balogun, trust ekong. Now that they are available let see what zambia can do. Because i dont believe in boasting.

  3. Ernest 9ja says:

    If zambian’s defeated algeria at home that does not mean they can defeat nigeria. Ask cameroun what happened to them home and a way, they were even begging for draw at home.

    • Luapula bize says:

      Hey cmon broda…Cameroon is a damn finished lot! What do you expect from a team that lost all the games during the confederations cup prior to the games you played with them?

      • Tembo says:

        Luapula. Confederations cup is a different kettle of fish. Playing against Germany and Chile is not mince pie. Do you think the Zambian national team can survive playing these countries? You don’t know football.

  4. Egwugwu says:

    Mikel was there @ernest .l can assure you that the under 20 boys arelije machines.let’s wait wait for tomorrow.

    • GODWIN EVOH says:

      Do you think Nigeria doesn’t have Under 20 Players? Please pocket it. Football will be played tomorrow.

      • Luapula bize says:

        They must be not so good at all; coz if the Nigerian under 20s were good enough, we could have seen them in the just ended U20 AFCON as well as the FIFA world cup 🙂

        • GODWIN EVOH says:

          Zambians are noise makers. you won U20 in Africa and got to the Q/finals in the FIFA WC and we won’t have our peace any longer. Your pride is unfounded. Ghana once won FIFA U20.

          Your U20 players will be taught what experience is in football.

          • Luapula bize says:

            Keep dreaming broda..Keep your fantasies alive…reality awaits you in a few hours to come. In the meantime, put on your dancing shoes for the Chipolopolo soccer tunes on the UYO turf.

          • SMMSOJC says:

            It’s Nigeria Vs Zambia and not Ghana … please Ghanaian Friend rest and watch the chat between Nigerian and Zambian fans … who are on the pitch whilst you are in the terraces … i am sure the Black Stars are in a more difficult situation than Chipolopolo. bless thee always … Viva Chipolopolo over Nigeria.

  5. Bsimms says:

    Hehehe less than 48hrs to go before a set of supporters shut up!

  6. Stevens says:

    Patson papa daka fashionable sakala kennedy kapalaya mweene Shonga Shonga Sh

  7. Stevens says:

    Patson papa daka fashionable sakala kennedy kapalaya mweene Shonga Shonga Shonga. Zambia will carry the day 0:3 scorers fashion 20 patson 65 Shonga 90+3.bola na lesa

  8. kampinda says:

    For sure Nigeria is on paper the better team but so was Algeria! We know what happened. We’ve seen so many times star-studded teams lose to more determined and motivated modest ones.

    • Zimbo says:

      Am worried about Fackson dealing with Victor Moses!Simon for me seems to be the weakest link in defence. I hope he will watching the ball not the player.Otherwise our wing backs need to up thei game.Believe me Nigeria will exploit these wingbacks.We.needtofind good wing backs for the AFCON qualifiers.

  9. Zimbo says:

    all I can say is that tomorrow’s match will be a cracker! No heat attacks please.This reminds me of Tunisia 1994.

  10. Harry says:

    The truth is that matches involving these two sides has never been easy.Just like Cameroon and Algeria, Zambia has always been a thorn in the flesh of Nigeria.I believe both teams are good. I will also commend the Zambiam coach (Nyerinda), for turning Zambia’s fortune around in such a short time(I am sure most people had already written them off after their loss to Nigeria at Ndola). As a Nigerian, I believe tomorrow’s game will be a very tactical one. Nigeria have the home advantage, but I certainly believe the better side will carry the day. Good luck guys.

  11. Mukei71 says:

    The game on the pitch is different from the one we build from our mouth which is simply our imagination and feeling about how we want things to go, from each side,we are now hours the ground is getting hot .to me noise and boosting on this platform I’m enjoying .why ? because tomorrow all eyes and ears will be glued on the pitch.both teams are hungry ,fans too , very interesting
    but Nigeria I respect you ,I use to support you when ever you play especially with European countries,but still want to see you off against chipololo tomorrow in your house. you took a cup from us 1994 and this time we want the ticket to Russia ,this is an unpredictable game .

  12. Chriskels says:

    I will like to see each and everyone of you here tomorrow after the match. It would be awesome reading your excuses as to why your team got whitewashed by the Eagles once again.

    • Bsimms says:

      My friend this is a Zambian site! Victory or defeat we shall be here to either take it in & tolerate your victory speach if at all you will succeed. However, get ready for our victory away from home.

  13. Concerned Citizen says:

    Nigeria has the advantage; they’re playing at home. Zambia needs to weather the 15 minutes of the proverbial storm. After that, all bets are off for a Nigeria victory. Zambia gets stronger & stronger as the game progresses. That’s what happened when they met previously.

  14. km says:

    Nigeria has good players,but their weakness is that ,they are not as faster as zambian players.that is what will be their downfall. This is truth.remember my words tomorrow. Cameroon are very slow no wander Nigeria managed to beat them,but Zambians are swift And intelligent on the ball, and Nigerians need to know this.so that their downfall should not come as a surprise. Am being realistic. Nigerians are not invincible .they are beatable.we respect Nigeria,but tomorrow get ready to meet Zambia.

  15. Naijaguy says:

    I can’t wait to read the headline tommorrow here on zamfoot.

    “NIGERIA 5 ZAMBIA 0. How it all happened”


  16. Amandla says:

    The sad part is that we begin weak – always and depend on Math later! We need to begin strong and end strong. That is what gave us the Afcon Cup! No need to sleep first then wake up later.

  17. Amandla says:

    Nigeria 0-2 Zambia!

  18. Ernest 9ja says:

    U can’t beat nigeria with ur under 20 boys. Watch out tomorrow nigeria 4 zambia 0. The same algeria u beat 3:1, nigeria won with the same magin. Goal scorer tomorrow. Ihenacho 1, moses 1, iwobi 1, ighalo 1. Zambia 0

  19. GSK11 says:

    Zamfoot nice article- ZED … the transformation and brave changes by the coach were pivotal to the success of the new look Zed side.
    Lets be honest all of us wrote him off including myself…
    I know I/we …are going to be really really stressed watching the match…
    Its been one astounding result after the other…
    Nigeria- with due respect to the Super eagles, are in for a massive shock….
    Young Bullets… Do your best..just fight to the last…!!!!
    God bless you!!!

  20. mukei 71 says:

    How many hours guys ,have the last say before the game .i am just waiting to see who does the damage

  21. Anonymous says:

    Nigeria will carry the day believe me

  22. Zimbo says:

    I can’t wait for this game.I have even lost appetite! If we draw or win today we will AFCON in Cameroon. Believe me.

  23. KWAME NKRUMAH says:






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