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When the Super Eagles take on Zambia in Uyo on Saturday, it will be the second time ever both sides are meeting in a World Cup qualifier even though the make-or-mar encounter will be their 19th confrontation.

The duel is the reciprocal of last year’s first ever clash of both teams in a World Cup qualifying match. Unlike the previous one which anniversary will be two days after the Uyo clash, this match carries greater weight as it may mark the end of the World Cup struggles in the Group B of African qualifying series.

A possible win by Nigeria sees the Super Eagles picking a World Cup ticket, even with a match to spare. The last time that happened was in the qualifiers for the France ’98.

For Zambia, hoping for a first ever World Cup appearance, it will be the end of yet another struggle. But a win still keep them in struggle, even if it means tying in points with Nigeria, leaving goal difference as possible decider as both would head to their last games against already eliminated pre-series powerhouses of Cameroon and Algeria.


In that scenario, advantage sways more to Zambia’s favour having to play the last match at home against Cameroon which may not invest much in the encounter by inviting their legion of foreign stars.

Nigeria will then be away to Algeria, which has most of its national team players featuring in the domestic league and would therefore be available for a face-saving duel with Nigeria which will be banking on picking the World ticket in Algeria as it happened in 1993.

Another likely outcome in Saturday’s match is a draw which pushes both teams struggling till the last match day.

Should that be the case, Zambia will require a defeat of at least five goals against Cameroon next month and hope Nigeria drops all points in the match with Algeria. A draw will be sufficient for Nigeria in that scenario.

Zambia had always found Nigeria a hard nut to crack even though honours have almost been equally shared in encounters of both sides. In the 18 previous clashes Nigeria won seven while Zambia won five.


Zambia’s most famous win against Nigeria was the 5-1 recorded 44 years ago in a 1974 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Lusaka. That was barely nine months after Nigeria had picked the gold medal of the football event of the 2nd All Africa Games in Lagos.

Surprisingly, it was Nigeria that opened scoring in the encounter after five minutes. By half time, Nigeria had already conceded four goals. That remained Zambia’s only memorable win over Nigeria. They will need an encore of this to push the Super Eagles to the second position on the ladder, given the high goal difference advantage that Nigeria currently enjoys.

Sports Village Square recalls that Chipolopolo last beat Nigeria in a competitive game 32 years ago when a last minute goal in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier denied the Super Eagles an appearance at the 1986 finals edition.

The first leg in Lagos ended goalless and the return leg on August 18, 1985 appeared destined for the same score line and the tie would be broken by penalty kick. Then the unexpected happened.

Zambia’s swift right winger, Lucky Nsiska, living up to his first name, collected the ball few metres from Nigeria’s half of the field.


He beat a Nigerian defender and sent another the wrong way with body swerve before setting a pass for a dashing Jack Chanda who put all strength in his right foot to fire a terrific shot past Goalkeeper Peter Rufai, almost on the dot of 90th minute.

Since that memorable loss, Nigeria have always had the edge over Zambia in subsequent encounters especially the 2-0 win in the 1990 Africa Cup semi final duel and the 2-1 recorded when Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time in 1994.





                    P        W        D        L        F        A

Nigeria        18       7        7           5        18       21

Zambia       18      5        7           7        21      18


15 July 1973: Zambia 5 -1 Nigeria: 1974 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.


29 Jul. 1973: Nigeria 3-2 Zambia: 1974 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

14 Feb. 1976: Zambia 1-3 Nigeria Friendly match

10 Mar. 1978: Zambia 0-0 Nigeria: 1978 Africa Cup of Nations.

25 Jul. 1981: Zambia 3-0 Nigeria: Friendly Match

13 Mar. 1982: Zambia 3-0 Nigeria: 1982 Africa Cup of Nations.


10 Aug. 1985: Nigeria 0-0 Zambia: 1986 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

18 Aug.1985: Zambia 1-0 Nigeria: 1986 Africa Cup of Nations.

12 Mar. 1990: Zambia 0-2 Nigeria: 1990 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final.

10 April 1994: Zambia 1-2 Nigeria: 1994 Africa Cup of Nations final match.

15 Dec.  1997: Zambia 2-0 Nigeria: Friendly


18 Dec.  1997: Zambia 0-0 Nigeria: Friendly

13 Jan. 2001: Nigeria 1-0 Zambia: 2002 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

24 Mar.2001: Zambia 1-1 Nigeria: 2002 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

6 Jan.2010: Zambia 0-0 Nigeria: Friendly

25 Jan.2010: Zambia 0-0 Nigeria *(3-4 penalties): 2010 Africa Cup of Nations Quarter finals.


14 Nov 2011: Nigeria 2-0 Zambia: Friendly match.

25 Jan. 2013: Zambia 1-1 Nigeria: 2013 Africa Cup of Nations

9 Oct. 2016: Zambia 1-2 Nigeria: 2018 World Cup qualifier




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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International Football

New twist in Cameroon football coach crisis




The coaching crisis in Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions has taken a new dimension as the football federation, FECAFOOT, led by former international, Samuel Eto’o goes in direct confrontation with the coaching crew appointed by the sports ministry which also picks the bills.

  According to a Cameroon official who will not like to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, the claims and counter claims of both the sports ministry and the FECAFOOT led by Eto’o had been heard and decided by the conciliation and arbitration chamber of the Cameroonian national Olympic committee, which is a court in charge of sports cases in Cameroon.

  “What is in contention is not the position of the Belgian coach, Marcc Brys, but that of the Cameroonian assistants attached to him.”

  The source explained to Sports Village Square that although the employment of Brys by the sports ministry was initially contested by Eto’o, the former player has come to accept the situation.


  “In Cameroon, there is always a techenical crew of nine to 11. The foreign coach is allowed to bring in two foreign assistants, while the others are always Cameroonians.

  In this case, the sports ministry approved the list of two foreign assistants by Brys while also announcing another set of local assistants that included former international, François Omam-Biyik, one of the stars of Italia ‘90  and the scorer of the goal that gave Cameroon a 1-0 win over a Diego Maradona-inspired  Argentina.

  “That is where the problem is. FECAFOOT also submitted a list of technical crew that included Brys and his two foreign assistants but dropped the names of the local assistants with new ones.”

  In essence, there are two lists with both having three names as same, but differ on the rest.

 According to the source, the list submitted by the sports ministry was upheld by the tribunal which threw aside that of FECAFOOT.


  In another twist, FIFA has already removed the name of Marc Brys from the profile of Cameroon on its website. Only the name of national women’s coach, Jean-Baptiste Bisseck is listed.

The removal of Brys’ name is happening a second time as it was first removed at the end of last month before being reinstated.

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International Football

Cameroon’s appointment of Brys as manager suspended by sports tribunal



Marc Brys

Cameroon’s appointment of Belgian Marc Brys as head coach was suspended by the country’s top sports tribunal on Tuesday following the petition of an amateur football club.

The country’s sports ministry stirred controversy last month when it named 61-year-old Brys as manager of the Indomitable Lions without consulting the football federation (FECAFOOT).

The move sparked a dispute between the sports ministry and FECAFOOT, which said the government had made a unilateral decision.

In response, it asked its president Samuel Eto’o to propose a national coach and other management staff for the national side within 72 hours, deepening its standoff with the sports ministry.

Eto’o kept Brys as head coach but named different assistants, technical, medical and administrative staff.


An amateur club, meanwhile, took the matter to the Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber of the Cameroon National Olympic and Sports Committee.

In a provisional ruling on Tuesday, the court suspended the FECAFOOT appointments while it fully examined the matter. Concerned parties have 24 hours to appeal.

FECAFOOT in response said it “reserves the right to refer these decisions to FIFA, as they hinder the preparation process for the forthcoming sport events.

“The Emergency Committee of FECAFOOT will meet immediately to take appropriate measures,” it said in a statement.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has strict rules against government interference in national federations and has frequently banned countries when governments get involved in federation affairs.


The president of the Cameroon Association of Amateur Football Clubs, Balla Ongolo Henri, had previously said Eto’o’s appointments would damage Cameroon’s image and disrupt preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next June.

Brys, 61, penned a contract on May 8 as head coach of the Indomitable Lions following the dismissal of Rigobert Song in February. FECAFOOT did not attend the signing ceremony.

The sports ministry says it has acted in accordance with national and international regulations.


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International Football

Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals



African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.


Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.



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