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International Football







Both Nigeria and Zambia meet on Saturday in Uyo in what is easily the most important match for the two teams in the race to the Russia 2018 World Cup. Both need a win to remain in contention. A win for Nigeria guarantees outright qualification. A win by Zambia stretches the struggle to the last match day in November. The two teams are therefore under pressure more than they have been in the previous four match days.

Sports Village Square takes an insightful look at the make or mar encounter and comes out with the following points of interest.

  • Saturday’s match will be Nigeria’s 103rd World Cup qualifying match.
  • The game will be Zambia’s 97th World Cup qualifying match.
  • Nigeria has had an unbeaten run of 33 matches in the World Cup qualifying series. This is the longest in Africa. Nigeria last lost a World Cup qualifying match in Luanda on June 20, 2004 when Angola had a 1-0 win in the race to Germany 2006.
  • Both Nigeria and Zambia are English speaking and are former Africa Cup of Nations holders. Nigeria won thrice in 1980, 1994 and 2013. Zambia won once, in 2012.

Both teams played the final match of 1994 Africa Cup of Nations which Nigeria won by 2-1. When Elijah Litana scored for Zambia in the third minute, it was the first time Nigeria trailed in the entire tournament.  Emmanuel Amuneke equalized for Nigeria two minutes later before scoring the winner two minutes into the second half in what was his only match of the tournament.

Nigeria and Zambia contested the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations final match. Emmanuel Amuneke waltz past Zambia’s Harrison Chongo. Amuneke’s two goals earned Nigeria a 2-1 victory.

  • Zambia became the first team to inflict a humiliating defeat on Nigeria after the 7-0 loss to the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1955. On July 15, 1973, barely six months after Nigeria won the gold medal of the football event of the All Africa Games, Zambia came from a goal down to beat Nigeria 5-1 in Lusaka in a 1974 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. It was the first ever encounter of both teams.
  • Yakubu Mambo was not just the first scorer at the National Stadium, Lagos he was the first Nigerian player to score against Zambia. A feat he performed barely five minutes into the 1973 encounter which Nigeria eventually lost 1-5.

Record man, Yakubu Mambo became the first scorer against Zambia on July 15, 1973 in Lusaka

  • Nigeria’s late midfield maestro, Muda Lawal was for a long time Nigeria’s most capped player. He had 86 caps. His last international outing was against Zambia in Lusaka on August 18, 1985.

Muda Lawal played his last international match against Zambia on August 18, 1985.


  • Joseph Yobo equalled Muda Lawal’s 86 international appearances playing against Zambia on November 14, 2011 in a friendly match in Kaduna. Nigeria won the match 2-0.
  • The late Stephen Keshi led Nigeria to 52 matches as a coach to both the frontline Super Eagles and the CHAN squad. In those matches he won 25 matches. Sports Village Square recalls that his first victory as a coach for Nigeria was the 2-0 defeat of Africa Cup of Nations-bound Zambia in Kaduna on November 14, 2011.
  • Former Nigeria’s skipper. Joseph Yobo became the first Nigerian player to clock 100 international appearances. Sports Village Square recalls that his first international cap was against Zambia in Ndola on March 24, 2001. Nigeria drew the game 1-1.

  • Joseph Yobo debuted for Nigeria in a match against Zambia in 2001. He also equalled Muda Lawal’s appearance record in another match with Zambia. 
  • When Nigeria met Zambia last year in Ndola, it was the first ever World Cup qualifying match pitching both teams.
  • It was against Zambia that the Super Eagles played their last competitive match at the National Stadium, Lagos. That was the January 13, 2001 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in which Austin Okocha lost a penalty kick in the eventual 1-0 win.
  • Alex Iwobi was a scoring debutant for Nigeria in the last match with Zambia in Ndola.
  • Zambia eliminated Nigeria from the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya after a 3-0 defeat in which Nigeria needed a draw to advance,
  • Nigeria eliminated Zambia in the semi finals of the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria and also at the quarter final stage of the 2010 edition in Angola.
  • Zambia eliminated Nigeria from qualifying for the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Nigeria retaliated by preventing Zambia from getting to the 2002 edition in Mali.
  • When Nigeria beat Zambia last year in Ndola, it was the first time Nigeria beat Zambia at home.
  • Zambia have never beaten Nigeria at home.
  • Nigeria used Zambia as stepping stones to win Africa Cup of Nations twice in 1994 and 2013.





Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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International Football

Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals



African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.


Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.



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International Football

Nigeria’s Nnadozie, Malawi striker, Chawinga scoop top awards in France



Malawi striker Tabitha Chawinga and Chiamaka Nnadozie of Nigeria have been named the best player and best goalkeeper respectively in the French women’s league.

Chawinga wasted no time in making an impact upon her arrival in France after joining Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan in less than one year.

 The Malawi captain joined PSG in the summer of 2023 and has quickly showcased her talent, resulting in the top award on Monday night.

She played 25 matches, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists while donning the iconic red and blue jersey.

As a semifinalist in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, PSG’s number 22 became the first Malawian to score a goal in a European competition.


Meanwhile, Nnadozie has had an exceptional season with Paris FC which had led to dethrone Christiane Endlerthe – long standing best goalkeeper in the French women’s top-flight.

The Nigerian goalkeeper boasts 10 clean sheets in 28 appearances in the French league.

For the first time in her career, Nnadozie has been recognized in this category, ending the dominance of Endler, who was named the best goalkeeper in the French league from 2019 to 2023.

Chawinga and Nnadozie’s achievements highlight the growing influence of African players abroad as their performances will pave the way for future generations of footballers from the continent to shine on the global stage.

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International Football

What a twist of fate! Before now, Morocco and Algeria were  allies



When FIFA Suspended Morocco for Supporting Algeria’s Independence

Despite Morocco’s historical solidarity with Algeria, the regime continues to politicize sporting events in search of opportunities to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Algeria continues to push with its obsessive tendency to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity despite the country’s long-standing solidarity with its National Liberation Front (FLN) in international sporting events.

Last week, the Algerian regime confiscated the jerseys of a Moroccan club RS Berkane ahead of a CAF Confederation match in Algeria due to the fact that they featured a full map of Morocco.

The decision drew outrage from Moroccans and international observers who decried Algeria’s politicizing of sporting events and its constant search for opportunities to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.

On Saturday, Algerian journalist and political analyst, Oualid Kebir, took to social media exposing the regime’s disregard for Morocco’s historical support for the Algerian FLN in international sporting events.


Kebir highlighted Morocco’s “heroic” and “strong supportive stances” during Algerian’s challenging times during French occupation. “Morocco’s historical and heroic stance at that time is added to the honorable and strong supportive stances at that time towards Algeria,” the post read. 

Kebir’s statement referred to Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) organizing a match in 1958 against the FLN team despite the fact that the team was not recognized by FIFA. The team consisted then of French Muslim (Algerian) players who had been suspended by the French Football Federation.

FIFA’s justification at the time for punishing Morocco was due to the licensing of the FRMF clubs to play against the FLN team. 

“Today, the military regime disguises ingratitude and compels Algerian clubs and sports teams to refuse to play and confront their Moroccan counterparts who display the map of Morocco on their jerseys!” Kebir wrote, decrying Algeria’s ungratefulness to Morocco’s historical support.

“This is the reward for standing with us during difficult times?!” he stressed.


Attached to the post was the official document from FIFA outlining its decision to revoke the affiliation of the FRMF due to Morocco’s authorization of its clubs to play matches against the Algerian national team, despite FIFA’s objections. 

Algeria’s blatant attacks on Morocco’s sovereignty have especially peaked over the past days with the country staunchly attempting to politicize yet another sporting event.

One such event occurred during the Arab Championship this week, where the Algerian U-17 national handball team withdrew in protest of Morocco’s jersey featuring a full map of Morocco that includes its southern provinces. 

After the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced RS Berkane to be the winner of the Sunday match, Algeria relentlessly appealed the decision, losing the appeal in the process.

However, the regime announced that they would take their case to a higher court, alleging that the jerseys include a political symbol.


In January 2023, Algeria orchestrated a similar attack on Morocco through the African Nations Championship (CHAN). During the tournament, the Algerian regime denied the Moroccan team the right to participate and defend their title, while using the tournament’s opening ceremony as a political platform to express support for the Polisario Front. 

-Morocco World News

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