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Nigeria ready for Zambia challenge – Mikel



Nigeria    captain Mikel Obi vows  the Super Eagles will  go all guns blazing  against Zambia’s Chipolopolo in their  opening Russia  2018 World Cup Group B qualifier at   Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia, on Sunday.

The Chelsea midfielder, who helped  the national Under-23 team  win bronze (the country’s only medal) at the  Rio 2016 Olympic Games, promised victory  against their hosts   to maintain their continental  superiority over them.

Zambia, who won their first African title at the  Gabon and Equatorial  Guinea 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, have not beaten Nigeria in a competitive game since their 1-0 victory over the Eagles in their Egypt ’86 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Lusaka   on August 18, 1985. Chipolopolo progressed to qualify for the tournament.

Emmanuel Amuneke’s  brace helped Nigeria defeat Zambia  to win the Tunisia  ’94 Africa Cup of Nations But  the Zambians came back to beat  the Eagles  5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the quarterfinals of the 2010  Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

None of the 16 previous meetings was a World Cup qualifier.

And  Mikel, who has not featured for Chelsea this season,  said  on Thursday  the team were  ready for the  Ndola encounter.

“We are all looking forward to the qualifying matches, starting with Sunday’s game in Zambia. Each and every one of us knows what it means – big battles that we have to win. We are ready for the challenge,” the  29-year-old, who represented Nigeria at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,  told Nigeria Football Federation’s  official website.

Meanwhile, the players  have been promised their  win bonus for last month’s Africa Cup of Nations  qualifier against Tanzania.

The Nigeria Football Federation also promised to   refund  their flight tickets and  camp allowances for the World Cup qualifier against  Zambia.Punch