Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has stated that his players will not make the mistake Algeria made by underrating the Chipolopolo of Zambia in their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Uyo on Saturday.
The Eagles top the Group B on 10 points while Zambia are second on seven points.
Both teams recorded impressive results on matchday three and four with the Eagles taking four points off Cameroon, while Zambia defeated Algeria home and away.
In an exclusive interview witn Cafonline.com, Rohr reveals that he has seen tapes of the Zambians but expressed confidence that his players will be in high spirit for the game.
“I can’t predict the scoreline against Zambia because it would not be an easy match,” the 64-year-old Rohr who had previously worked in Gabon , Niger, Burkina Faso and Tunisia tells Cafonline..com
“Zambia can be dangerous because they also have a good team; I don’t think it would be a 4-0 win for us but the most important thing for us is to win even if it’s by one or two goal difference.
“I have seen a lot of videos of the Zambian team and I must confess they are a very good side much better than the team we played last October, but we are not afraid. We only have to give them respect, but we won’t make the mistake Algeria made by underrating Zambia. They have quick strikers, but we shall be ready for them. We are going to show a good fighting spirit ; we want to go to Russia to show the world that we are very good team with a good fighting spirit.
“In this game against Zambia, the players would show what they can do defensively and offensively. Our goal is to win the game and there is no doubt about that. It’s a good situation for us because even a draw is still okay, but we want to win. Zambia must win to have a chance of going to Russia; and I think they are in the same situation like Cameroon who wanted to win in Uyo but we punished them with our counter attacks. We shall see what they want to do, but by God’s grace, we shall win this game. “
Rohr also admits that he is excited being the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, stressing that it would be an achievement leading them to the 2018 World Cup.
“I’m happy to be the head of this group of players and in general, everyone has realised that we have a fantastic goal of going to the World Cup in Russia; and everybody is happy being part of the team. It would be great to lead Nigeria to the World Cup in Russia, “ he says.
On his assessment of the Eagles’ performance one year after his appointment , Rohr says: “We started in August 2016 and the mission was to build a young team. Our first game against Tanzania was successful and all along, I wanted a good foundation and that means a very good defence.
“I also wanted a good mix of experienced and young players. We started the World Cup campaign in October against Zambia in Ndola and the victory gave us a good confidence. In one year, we only lost once (against South Africa in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers) and we had good result against big teams like Cameroon and Algeria.
“At the beginning, everybody thought the ticket for the Russia 2018 World Cup in our group was going to be between Cameroon and Algeria but it’s now between us and Zambia. It’s now in our hands now and we have to ensure we win at home against Zambia so that we can go to Russia; we want everybody to be focussed on this objective and I’m confident because our last two games against Cameroon gave us a lot of optimism.”