Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, is expected to release his team list for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Zambia next month by Friday.
The German coach, it was learnt, has been having telephone conversations with virtually all the players he wants to include in his list, to ascertain their wellbeing and assess their mental readiness for the game scheduled to hold in Ndola on October 9.
Rohr is expected to keep faith with many of the players that won 1-0 in Uyo Akwa Ibom State, against Tanzania Taifa Stars in the dead rubber African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2017 qualifier earlier this month.
“Rohr has been in touch with the players, checking up on them and encouraging them ahead of the World Cup showdown in Zambia next month,” a top official told African- Football.com.
“He wishes to raise their confidence and self-esteem by this personal contact.”
The German coach has harped on the need for the Super Eagles players to have self-belief after the failure of the country to qualify for two straight AFCONs.
“The confidence has not been there because the team failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, but when results start to come, the confidence will return,” he said.
“It is a difficult challenge (to qualify for the World Cup). Nigeria are not the favourites after we did not qualify for the last two AFCONs, but we hope to be at the World Cup.”
He has hinted on a recall for both Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi and Portugal- based Oghenekaro Etebo after both players missed the Tanzania game due to injuries. But while Iwobi is back in full action, Etebo has suffered yet another injury setback in Portugal.
Meanwhile, as the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers get underway next month, former Zambian striker, Zeddy Saileti, insists the Chipolopolo can beat Nigeria.
The Post of Zambia website quotes the striker as claiming that the Super Eagles are beatable, despite saying they are a big name in continental football. Saileti was in the team that lost 2-1 to the Super Eagles during the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations final in Tunisia.
“I think that Nigeria is a big team, it’s a big name in African football but they are beatable, there is no need to fear them,” said Saileti.
“We have failed to qualify to the Africa Cup and they have also failed, they may have the players in Europe but the truth is, they have not been doing well in recent years.
“But we equally haven’t done so well, though I am made to believe that it’s us who want it the most because we have never been to the World Cup.
“Now we have a new technical bench which means we just have to prepare very well, work very hard and if we work hard, we can win,” Saileti said.
Zambia are chasing their maiden appearance in the World Cup and are set to welcome Nigeria on October 9.