Zambia has begun the 2018 World Cup qualifiers on a losing note after going down 2-1 at the hands of Nigeria in a Group B match played at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola.
It was a game of two halves as Nigeria dominated the first half in which they scored the two important goals through Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi and Manchester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho.
Iwobi opened the scoring for the Super Eagles in the 32nd minute when he fired into the bottom corner past Sundowns second choice goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene following a knockback to net his first international goal.
Iheanacho then doubled Nigeria’s lead 10 minutes later as he latched onto a through ball before rounding off Mweene to silence thousands of home supporters.
South African based striker Collins Mbesuma pulled one back for the Chipolopolo Boys 19 minutes to full time, but the visitors were able to hang on to their lead and record a victory in their group.
Defender Adrian Chama was a suspect at the back and many fans have condemned his uninspiring performance that was watched by President Edgar Lungu and thousands of supporters. Zambia assistant national coach Wedson Nyirenda admitted that the lack of experience in some new players cost the Chipolopolo Boys the result, but believes Zambia can come back a stronger side in the next match against Cameroon.
The five group winners qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
With the win, the first ever on Zambian soil, Nigeria are early table toppers in Group B, while the result of the Algeria Cameroon game was being awaited later tonight.
Only the top teams in each group will get the berth to represent Africa at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.