Zambia/Nigeria: Kalaba – Opening Loss Leaves Us With Pressure

Zambia captain Rainford Kalaba says they will have to redeem themselves after falling 2-1 at home to Nigeria on Sunday.

The defeat at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola saw Zambia slump to the bottom of Group B in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers while visitors Nigeria took command of the pool at the end of match day one.

“I am very disappointed and I am very sorry to the nation but we could have scored at least two or three goals in this game,” Kalaba said.

“We are very disappointed to lose at home. It was very important to start well unfortunately we didn’t.”

Kalaba had two great chances in the first half to draw level in a period Nigeria took a 2-0 lead into the break.

But his saw his 35th minute shot go inches wide and in 44th minute, Nigeria goalkeeper Onora Ikeme parried the Zambia captains effort.

“Losing the first game leaves us with a lot of pressure but we still have a good team. There is just one mistake we need to rectify in the team and we will be okay,” Zambia captain said.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles captain Obi Mikel has lauded his colleagues for stepping up to the challenge in opening Group C clash.

Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho scored in the 32nd and 42nd minutes respectively to catapult the four-time the West Africans to the summit of the group.

“It is always nice to play with a young team where you know everyone is hungry and wants to establish himself in the first team,” the 29-year-old Nigeria captain said.

“It reminds me as well of when I started under the likes of Jay Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu. It was a great a pleasure playing with them.

“It is the same with these guys. We enjoyed playing, creating chances but at the end of the day we have to play to the coach’s instructions.”

Next stop for Nigeria is a home date against second placed Algeria in November with the latter on one point after drawing 1-1 with visiting Cameroon at Blida later on Sunday.

“It is going to be a tough group to qualify from but we will do it,” Mikel said.

Source: Confederation of African Football.