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2018 World Cup Showdown: Big names won’t save Eagles from defeat – Zambia coach

By John Egbokhan

COACH Wedson Nyirenda says the Chipolopolo will not be intimidated by the European stars that Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has  summoned for next Saturday’s crunch 2018 Russia World Cup qualifier in Uyo.

Rohr on Tuesday named a strong 23 member squad comprising mostly European-based players.“In what seems a list of the creme-de-la-creme of the who-is-who in England, The Franco-German coach has included Alex Iwobi of Arsenal, Victor Moses of reigning England champions, Chelsea, Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City,, Ahmed Musa and Wilfred Ndidi, also of Leicester in his crack squad for what is building up to be an explosive encounter between two teams, locked in a heated race to grab a precious ticket to play in next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.

With the likes of former Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel and ex-Watford striker, Odion Ighalo, both who now play professional in the Chinese Super League, also being invited for the make-or-mar encounter on October, Rohr  appears to be putting his money on his foreign stars to get the job done over Zambia and give Nigeria an independence gift with the World Cup ticket.

The likes of William Ekong, who plays for Bursaspor FC, Turkey,  Abdullahi Shehu, who features for Anorthosis Famagusta in  Cyprus, Leon Balogun of Bundesliga side, FSV Mainz, Elderson Echiejile of Sivasspor FC, Turkey, Uche Agbo of Standard Liege, Belgium, Chidozie Awaziem of Nantes FC, France and Olaoluwa Aina of Hull City, England, make up the list of foreign-based defenders, invited for the game.

But the invitation of these foreign pros by Rohr has been played down by coach Nyirenda, who said that his Chipolopolo stars would not  develop cold feet when they step on the pitch of the Godswill Akpabio Stadium come match day.

Speaking in an interview with Zambia Daily Mail,  Nyirenda said that, ”the big names that Nigeria have invited for the World Cup qualifier with us would not save them from losing on October 7.

”Those players may have impressive resume but that is where it will stop because on the pitch, your status would not count, as it will be 11 men against 11 men and the winner will be the ones with the better mindset, tactics and commitment, which I am sure my players have in high quantity.

‘All  we are dreaming of is to beat Nigeria on Uyo and we are sure that we can achieve our set result despite the big names Nigeria will parade”, added  Nyirenda


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