Zambia has become the new and only rivals of the Super Eagles of Nigeria for a ticket to next year’s World Cup after the Chipolopolo’s shocked 1-0 defeat of hosts in Constantine last night.
However, the Super Eagles will book their flight to Russia 2018 with a draw at home to the resurgent Chipolopolo on October 7. Zambia now have seven points from four matches, just three points behind leaders Nigeria.
Both Cameroon, who have three points, and Algeria on a point have been effectively ruled out of the race to Russia 2018.
A second half strike by Patson Daka, MVP of this year’s Under-20 AFCON hosted and won by Zambia, was the hero for the Copper Bullets when he put away a loose ball inside the box after 66 minutes.
Skipper and goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene kept his country in the game when he saved a Riyad Mahrez penalty in the first half.
Mweene also pulled off several big saves to ensure Zambia record a double over the North Africans after they won the first game 3-1 in Lusaka last Saturday.
Nigeria defeated Zambia 2-1 in Ndola in October 2016, but the Southern Africans are now a team reborn with the injection of several players from the Under-20s, who went on to shine at the recent Under-20 World Cup in Korea, as well as new discoveries in the country’s COSAFA and CHAN campaigns.
Patson Daka scored the winner in the 67th minute of the game, as the Chipolopolo completed the double over the North Africans within a space of four days.
The result means that Zambia remains second in the Group B of the African qualifying zone with seven points and are only three points behind leaders, Nigeria.
They will now battle the Super Eagles for the sole ticket in the group.
Their next fixture is against the Eagles on October 7 in Nigeria.