Names do not play football,former Abia state governor Dr.Orji Uzor Kalu told the Super Eagles as they prepare to battle Cote D’Ivoire in Sunday’s Nations Cup quarter-finals.
In his message, Kalu said, “The Elephants are beatable. Big names like Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure did not stop Zambia from lifting the trophy in 2012.Diego Maradona and Argentina were floored by Cameroun, even as defending champions at the Italia’90 World Cup.Eagles also showed their stuff in France when they damaged pre-tournament favourites Spain beyond recognition in 1998.That was the last we heard of Andoni Zubizaretta and the beginning of the end for Raul.Mark my words,Drogba would bite his nails at the end of the clash.”
The ex-governor in his usual historical analysis explained that anytime Nigeria played defending champions in the first round,they stayed until the end of the competition, and also returned with a medal.
“That is the story since 1976 when the Eagles played Zaire,1974 African champions. It also happened in 1984, with 1982 winners Ghana in the same Bouake group.Same story in 1988,cup holders Egypt were in Eagles’ group, just like what happened again in 2010 when defending champions Egypt met the Eagles in the first round. In 2013, it was Zambia. So there is no stopping the tradition, “he pronounced.
And until Egypt thrashed Nigeria 3-1 in Angola, no defending champions ever beat the Eagles.Zaire in 1976,Ghana in 1984,Egypt in 1988,Cote D’Ivore in 1994,Cameroun in 2004 and Tunisia in 2006.This year,Zambians should thank the Egyptian referee for picking a draw.Kalu goes ahead to talk of history.
“Defending champions come with luck.You see that even when Egypt stained that record in 2010,Nigeria still went on to win bronze.Quote me,anytime Eagles met defending champions,they got a medal at the end.You saw the game with Zambia.The Ivorians are going to be hit with bad news,”he added.
Kalu bid the Chipolopolo bye mockingly.”Payback time, you know.As defending champions Nigeria were knocked out of the first round at Libya ’82.Eagles were in the same group as Zambia and Ethiopia.Infact,it was the last group match that guranteed Zambia’s qualification.Then they were all smiles,while Nigerians cried.Tuesday joy changed sides.Victor Moses refused to set Zambia free.”