Nigeria and Zambia actually do have a few things in common other than the fact that both country’s names end with the same alphabets.
And especially in football, there has been more than a handful of encounters between both countries at senior level, with the Super Eagles having a slight advantage over the Chipolopolo.
The most memorable encounter between both sides is arguably the final of the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, which Nigeria won 2-1 to lift her second ever African championship. It is still believed in some quarters that if the Zambia team had not been involved in a fatal plane crash just a year before, they probably would have been the African champions in ’94.
It is however imperative to note that Nigeria has won six of 16 previous matches with Zambia at international level, drawing five and losing five.
The Zambians walloped Nigeria 5-1 in the first –ever encounter, a 1974 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Lusaka on 15th July 1973. Nigeria’s 3-2 win in the return leg in Lagos two weeks later was of no effect.
Both teams battled to a 0-0 draw in Accra at the 1978 Cup of Nations, but Zambia then gained two successive 3-0 wins over Nigeria – a friendly in Lusaka in 1981 and a group phase clash at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya.
However, the Zambians have not beaten the Eagles in a competitive match in the past 31 years.
None of the 16 previous clashes was a World Cup qualifying match.
15 July 1973: Zambia 5 Nigeria 1 (Lusaka, AFCON Qualifier)
29 July 1973: Nigeria 3 Zambia 2 (Lagos, AFCON Qualifier)
10 March 1978: Zambia 0 Nigeria 0 (Accra, Africa Cup of Nations)
25 July 1981: Zambia 3 Nigeria 0 (Lusaka, International friendly)
13 March 1982: Nigeria 0 Zambia 3 (Benghazi, AFCON)
10 August 1985: Nigeria 0 Zambia 0 (Lagos, AFCON Qualifier)
18 August 1985: Zambia 1 Nigeria 0 (Lusaka, AFCON Qualifier)
12 March 1990: Nigeria 2 Zambia 0 (Annaba, AFCON)
10 April 1994: Nigeria 2 Zambia 1 (Tunis, AFCON final)
15 December 1997: Zambia 2 Nigeria 0 (Lusaka, International friendly)
17 December 1997: Zambia 0 Nigeria 0 (Kitwe, International friendly)
13 January 2001: Nigeria 1 Zambia 0 (Lagos, AFCON Qualifier)
24 March 2001: Zambia 1 Nigeria 1 (Chingola, AFCON Qualifier)
25 January 2010: Zambia 0 Nigeria 0 (Lubango, AFCON. Nigeria won 5-4 on penalties)
15 November 2011: Nigeria 2 Zambia 0 (Kaduna, International friendly)
25 January 2013: Zambia 1 Nigeria 1 (Nelspruit, AFCON)