We Were Intimidated By Nigeria’s Premier League Stars, Zambia Skipper Confesses
Zambia skipper, Rainford Kalaba, has revealed that his team were intimidated when they faced Nigeria’s experienced Premier League players on Sunday.
The Super Eagles displayed great attacking artistry far away in Ndola to defeat their host 2-1 – thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi who ply their trade in the English topflight for Manchester City and Arsenal respectively.
Aside the duo, the three-time African also had the likes of Mikel Obi of Chelsea, Leicester City’s Ahmed Musa and ex-West Brom forward, Brown Ideye, on display.
Coming against a Chipolopolo side who play predominantly in South Africa, the Eagles stunned the home crowd by going two goals up in the first half.
And Kalaba attributes his team slump in the first half to fear and inferiority complex – owing to the fact that his teammates follow the Premier League and watch these Nigerians on display.
“Playing against experienced players based in Europe, some of the guys were scared of playing against them because they always watch them every weekend in the Premier league and when they see them live, it is often difficult for them to concentrate on the game,” reasoned the TP Mazembe star who posted a stint in Portugal between 20018 and 2010.
“In the first half some of the guys were a bit scared, but in the second half we all saw how things went and we controlled the game.
“There are even more stars in Algeria and Cameroon, so this must be big lesson for us.”
However, Kalaba was full of praise for the West Africans who he claims are well organised and experienced.
“We respect Nigeria because they have some good players,” he added.
“They have some experienced players in the midfield and they were well organised.”
The exciting forward said the pressure will now be on the Chipolopolo to get their qualifying campaign back on track.
“Losing our first game has brought more pressure on us, but we hope to improve,” he admitted.
“We are all very disappointed we lost at home because it was important to start (this competition) well.
“We still have time to work together with the coach so that we that we could rectify the mistake we have made.”
Nigeria currently top Group B after Algeria and Cameroon settled for a 1-1 draw.
They face the Desert Foxes at home in November.