Former Nigerian coach Henry Nwosu says the away victory against Zambia in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier has put the Eagles at an advantage, but warned that the race has not been won yet.
Eagles downed the Southern African side 2-1 in Sunday’s Group B opening clash at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia.
Two first-half goals by Eagles forwards Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho proved enough to hand Nigeria the three points at stake while Zambian danger man Collins Mbesuma scored his side consolation.
Nwosu said the Eagles’ hard-fought first win on Zambian soil does not call for relaxation but more hard work.
“I’m happy we won the clash against Zambia; at least it puts us at an advantage going forward in other group qualifying matches.
“The match truly lived up to its billing as a difficult encounter; I praise Eagles for going out there in Zambia for the first time to claim three points.
“It’s a good result going forward, but that does not call for relaxation on the part of the players as the race is not yet won.
“We must work hard in other matches knowing full well that as we went out there in Zambia to record a win another team can come here to claim a victory if we are not careful.
“The qualifier is a marathon; we must maintain a cool head and full concentration, especially in the next home clash against Algeria.
“A critical look at the clash against Zambia showed we did not play very well in the second half, Zambia dominated the half and that resulted in the pressures that gave them the consolation goal.
“I felt Ahmed Musa should have been introduced much earlier when it appeared the Zambians were showing fatigue in the game.
“Going forward, we must work on the attack as well as the midfield; the defence caved in under pressure.
“As I said earlier the result is good as it puts us at an advantage in the group’s race but it’s not yet celebration time but time to do more effective work,” said the former Nigerian captain and Golden Eaglets coach to supersport.com.