When Nigeria meet Zambia on Tuesday November 12 in the quest for a ticket for the football event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there are three players the Nigerian Olympic Eagles have to watch.


The match is also part of the U23 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerians are the title-holders. In the quest for a title defence, they have to be successful in the Group B which also habours Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa.


The Zambian players to watch are:


Fashion Sakala

Date of Birth: March 14, 1997

Club: KV Oostende (Belgium)

Position: Forward

Sakala was Zambia’s top scorer in the qualifiers with five goals. He is a graduate of the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations winning team, and also featured at the FIFA U-20 World Cup same year in Korea Republic, where he scored four goals as Zambia exited at the last eight.

He made his senior debut for Zambia in September 2017 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Algeria that Chipolopolo won 3-1 in Lusaka.

This is Sakala’s second season at Oostende after two years at Spartak Moscow following his transfer from seven-time Zambian league champions Zanaco in 2017.

Enock Mwepu

Date of Birth: January 1, 1998

Club: RB Salzburg (Austria)

Position: Midfielder


Mwepu joined Austrian champions, RB Salzburg, in mid-2017 from Zambian second-tier side Lusaka Celtic following domestic loan stints at Napsa Stars and Power Dynamos.

 He is also a U-20 Africa Cup of Nations winner in 2017 and quarter-finalists at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The left-footed midfielder scored two goals in the qualifiers, a brace in a 3-3 away draw against Congo-Brazzaville on 9 September in the final round.

He is not only the fulcrum of the Zambia U-23 team but also the senior national team first choice playmaker, scoring on his debut in a 3-1 win over Algeria in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Lusaka in September 2017.

Patson Daka

Date of Birth: October 9, 1998

Club: RB Salzburg (Austria)

Position: Forward

Daka, like club-mate Enock Mwepu, is originally from second-tier Zambian club Lusaka Celtic and spent over three seasons on loan at Power Dynamos before moving to Europe in late 2016 to join Salzburg.

He won the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in 2017, where he emerged Most Valuable Player of the competition.

The forward scored one goal in the qualifiers in the 3-3 away draw against Congo at the final round.

He has been a member of the Zambia senior national team since 2015. His claim to fame came on 5 September 2017 after scoring the only goal as the Chipolopolo beat Algeria 1-0 in Constantine in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.