As the Afcon champions, Zambia have placed themselves in a perfect spot to fail the defence of their title. A 1-1 draw with Nigeria stamped their departure date as the last day of the group stages, soon after their encounter with Burkina Faso.
Chipolopolo may buy time by netting a handsome tally against the ‘upright men’, the Burkinabe. This is given, as all might have noticed the naivety of the fluent and free-flowing Ethiopians. The North Eastern nation plays well going forward, but their central midfield and central defence leak like a sieve.
Not that they leak, but are too confident, to the detriment of their overall performance. Nigerian will steam roll over them, especially if Steven Keshi is brave enough to field his fringe players who have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
The Zambian predicament is worsened by the one foot Burkina Faso has in the quarter-final after crushing Ethiopia 4-0. That score-line will be a confident booster and the physical West Africans will push the champions to the maximum.
By the same token, Ethiopia have no desire to play anymore and while that lack of pressure may be lethal, it will be wise to play them with a motivated side of fringe players who have a point to prove to the Nigerian population.
As of now, The Burkinabe and the Super Eagles are through, unless the former give it away in a silver platter.