By Kayode Ogundare in Accra:
Wedson Nyirenda, chief coach of the Zambia national team has been forced to fall back on much-maligned striker Alex Ng’onga as well as John Ching’andu after injuries to in-form striker Brian Mwila and midfielder Emmanuel Banda ahead of the October 7th Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Uyo.
The duo was initially left out of the final 23-member squad that left Lusaka on Sunday morning for Ghana for a training camp before connecting Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital in South South Nigeria, venue of Saturday’s game.
Mwila sustained a knee injury in the first leg tie against Algeria at Heroes National Stadium when he collided with the goalkeeper after scoring his second goal while Banda sustained an ankle injury and a thigh muscle in training two days ago at his Belgium club K.V Oostende.
Nyirenda said the absence of Mwila and Banda was a minor setback and was confident that the players picked would do the job as the duo’s unavailability will not change his game plan.
He said the unavailability of the two would not change his initial game plan and that was why he came up with Plan B.
“It’s a minor setback and these things happen in football but we do have players to fill the void in Justin Shonga, Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala who can play at the top,” Nyirenda said.
Nigeria and Zambia, with three points separating them, go head to head in a crucial decider as a win for the Super Eagles will hand them a sixth World Cup ticket while a win or draw for Zambia will likely take the qualifying ticket to the wire on final matchday when Nigeria travel to Algeria and Zambia host Cameroon.