Captain of Zambia’s national team, Rainford Kalaba, has admitted that some of his team-mates were intimidated by several Nigeria stars, who ply their trade in the English Premier League.
The Chipolopolo lost their first game of the 2018 World Cup to the Super Eagles on Sunday in Ndola.
It was their first defeat at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, with Premier League stars, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho, scoring for Nigeria in the first half.
Gernot Rohr also had Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi and Leicester City’s Ahmed Musa in his squad for the game.
“Playing against experienced players based in Europe, some of the guys were scared of playing against them because they always watch them every weekend in the Premier league and when they see them live, it is often difficult for them to concentrate on the game,” Kalaba explained.
“In the first half, some of the guys were a bit scared, but in the second half we all saw how things went and we controlled the game.
“There are even more stars in Algeria and Cameroon, so this must be big lesson for us.”
The Zambian skipper also added that the pressure was now on them, to get their qualifying campaign back on track.
“Losing our first game has brought more pressure on us, but we hope to improve,” he added.
“We are all very disappointed that we lost at home, because it was important to start (this competition) well.
“We still have time to work together with the coach so that we could rectify the mistake we have made.”