Super Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has said in no unmistakable terms that it is too late in the day for their Zambian counterparts, Chipolopolo, to start positioning themselves for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification ticket.
Ezenwa, who is still askance over the 1-4 thumbing at the hands of the Black Stars of Ghana in the 2017 WAFU Cup final, said it will be most unfair for anyone to expect Nigeria to give up the summit position after everyone kicked off the World Cup campaign at the same time.
â€œI think itâ€™s too late for Zambia to start dreaming for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification ticket.
â€œThe qualification race commenced at the same time for everyone and here we are at the summit of the group.
â€œIt will be most unfair for Zambia or any other person to think that we will allow the golden opportunity to slip off our hands.
â€œThe hype has been strong, rightly so from the Zambian camp that is allowed in football.
â€œWe do not have the luxury of time to begin to listen to what the Zambians are saying concerning the match. Ours is to stay focus and concentrate on the game.
â€œItâ€™s a decisive game for us as far as the qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is concerned. We do not want any form of distraction.
â€œI think we have a better case for qualifying for the World Cup than the Zambians. Going to the World Cup is important to Zambia as claimed they are yet to be at the World Cup but itâ€˜s more important to us too as up to 78 per cent of my teammates are yet to be at the World Cup.
â€œWorld Cup is the summit of football, it will enrich our curriculum vitae and our children will be proud of us.
â€œRight now we are keenly looking forward to match-day to finish the game as well as pocket the ticket.
â€œI can tell you up to this moment we are yet to explain or understand what happened in the WAFU Cup final against hosts Ghana.
â€œWe have however decided to see the massive defeat as one of those worst days in football in order to forge ahead.
â€œWe cannot rewrite history but strive to learn one or two lessons from the unfortunate event in Ghana,â€ said the FC IfeanyiUbah shot stopper to supersport.com.
Nigeria is at the World Cup groupâ€™s summit on 10 points, three above closest challengers Zambia. Victory for Nigeria against the East Africans will make the last group match at the North African side, Algeria, a mere academic exercise.