Two Nigerian national teams, the U-23 Eagles and the Super Falcons have crucial matches which outcome will determine Nigeria’s participation in the football event of this year’s All Africa Games scheduled for Brazzaville, Congo in September.

Interestingly, the two teams were held to a draw in the first legs of their respective qualifiers. Zambia’s U-23 team held Nigeria to a goalless draw in Abuja, while the African champions, Falcons drew 1-1 with Mali a fortnight ago in an away game in Bamako, making the two teams facing the battles of their life in the return legs taking place this weekend.

•Nigeria's U-23 Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja on their way to Zambia yesterday

•Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja on their way to Zambia yesterday

The U-23 Eagles handled by Samson Siasia left for Lusaka yesterday to keep a date with Zambia on Sunday with the high hope of securing the ticket for the Congo tournament. “Playing against Zambia on Sunday is not about tactics alone but playing to instructions and do what we are supposed to do. Our game plan is that the ball doesn’t go behind our defenders and we now start chasing,” Siasia said.

“Another thing I have drummed into the ears of my boys is that there is no such thing like offside tactics in Zambia because the referee won’t call for it. So we have to be very, very smart because we are playing in a very hostile environment. We have to be very smart in what we do and what we don’t do.

“We want to make sure we box them in that midfield because the battle is going to be in the midfield. We will make sure we can contain the Zambians in the midfield so that we don’t allow them to dominate so that we can catch them on the fast break,” he noted.

•Edwin Okon, Falcons' coach

•Edwin Okon, Falcons’ coach

Coach of the Falcons, Edwin Okon, believes the crucial away goal is a big advantage for his team. “The ladies are ready and we are prepared and set to go against Mali Friday evening in Abuja.”

We expect nothing but victory especially because we have the advantage of an away goal so we’re sealing the win here.

The Coach said they will seek to amends for the missed chances in the last encounter while reliving the circumstances leading to the performance of the Falcons in the first encounter.