Super Eagles’ captain Mikel Obi said on Wednesday that the Nigerian national team players have no need to say too much before Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Zambia’s Chipolopolo.
The second leg game of Group B between Nigeria and Zambia for the 2018 World Cup qualifier is scheduled for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
The outcome of the match would determine the chances of both teams towards qualification for the world cup in Russia.
Speaking at a reception held for the team by Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, in Uyo, Obi explained that the players know what is at stake and ready to give their best.
He said, “We know how important the match is; that is enough motivation to go all out and give our very best. There are several players in this team who have not played at the FIFA World Cup, they want to be there in Russia next year.
“The talking will be done on the pitch. I have no doubt we have the quality to achieve victory, but we will not make the mistake of underrating the Zambians.”
Obi said that the team’s good performance in previous matches was achieved due to the focus, determination and massive support of all Nigerians.
“We believe the same indices are in place for Saturday against Zambia; we have played four matches in the campaign so far, but this one is the match. We are fully focused and ready. All we want is the usual support and encouragement by everyone involved, including the fans that will turn out at the match venue.”
Nigeria top Group B with 10 points from three wins and one draw.
Table-toppers Nigeria will qualify for a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance with the minimum victory on Saturday. The match kicks off at 5pm.
Meanwhile, the President of NFF, Amaju Pinnick, has tasked the Super Eagles to be calm but clinical against their opponent.
“The tendency is for teams to get uptight and tensed for this kind of match,” Pinnick said in a statement by NFF Communication Director, Ademola Olajire.
“I have spoken to them and the approach should be to take full control from the beginning and take the chances that come without being too anxious.
“We defeated the African champions, Cameroon, by maintaining focus and with the team imposing its game and taking the chances that came their way. That should be the approach for Saturday.”
Zambia last victory against Nigeria in a competitive football match at senior level was 32 years ago.
The two teams have played 18 matches in all, with the Eagles winning seven and Zambia winning five, with six draws.
This is only the second FIFA World Cup qualifying match between the two teams.
The first leg of the 2018 world cup qualifiers was won by the Eagles 2-1 in Ndola last year.