Names do not play football, Abia State former 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 such as 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 champion, at the Italia’90 World Cup. Eagles also showed their stuff in France when they damaged pre-tournament favourite, 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 champion 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 champion.It also happened in 1984, with 1982 winner, Ghana, in the same Bouake group.Same story in 1988, cup holder, Egypt, was in Eagles’ group, just as what happened again in 2010 when defending champion, Egypt, met the Eagles in the first round.In 2013, it was Zambia.So, there is no stopping the tradition,”he stressed. And until Egypt thrashed Nigeria 3-1 in Angola, no defending champion 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 champion, 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 champion, Nigeria was 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 she was all smiles,while Nigerians cried.T uesday’s joy changed sides.Victor Moses refused to set Zambia free.”