Both sides have a point from similar 1-1 draws and according to Herve Renard, Chipolopolo coach “We left ourselves short after the first game and we now have to do it the hard way.
The Frenchman went on to say “I told the players we did not perform as we are capable of and against Nigeria we cannot afford to do the same “
The reigning champions may even consider themselves fortunate to come away with a point after Saladin Said had his spot kick saved by Kennedy Mweene. Zambia seemed to have been thrown off course by the resilient display and fight by ten men Ethiopia who fought back to equalize through captain Adane Girma. The defending champions and their Friday opponents, The Super Eagles were touted as two teams fancied to go through to the next round but the “minnows” Ethiopia and Burkina Faso did not read the script.
After the game, coach Renard congratulated Ethiopia and acknowledged the deserved their point. Since that match Renard banned his team from looking back at that game instead claiming that , “ Nigeria is the new battle and l want us to play the way l expected us to in the first match and for sure we will perform better.”
Zambia received welcome news on defender Lungu Chisamba who was clattered by the red-carded Ethiopian keeper Jemal. Chisamba‘s injury was no worse than a bruised bone and he is expected to pass the fitness test and be available for Friday’s game. Chipolopolo goal scorer, Collins Mbesuma and Emmanuel Mbola who had ice packs strapped onto to their legs are also expected to be ready.
Mbesuma said that they wish to go into the next round and the match against has become even more significant after the first games for both teams (Zambia and Nigeria). “Of course we would have preferred to play this match against Nigeria on the back of a win, but that is not the case so we now have to play for a win and Nigeria will be looking to do the same and this makes it a tough encounter but we will be up to the task come Friday” said Mbesuma who plays his club football here in South Africa with Orlando Pirates.
Stephen Keshi the Nigeria coach was equally circumspect about the match. The former winner of AFCON as a player who is seeking to join the ranks of a select group of people who have won the title as player and coach said "We have recovered from the events of Monday and we are going to face a determined Zambia, who as defending champions are seeking to make it to the next round.
We will fight hard for a win and l still believe will go very far in this competition. I expect a difficult match on Friday but that’s why this is the AFCON finals, there are no easy games here. Said Keshi