FLASHBACK: See what happened 20 years ago when the Super Eagles last played in Lagos
Nigeria’s Super Eagles defeated the Chipolopolo of Zambia to win the 1994 AFCON and, though the Zambians had drawn one and one the other of two friendly games in-between, the qualifying games for the 2002 AFCON pit the two countries together again and the Southern Africans were hoping to extend their unbeaten run against Nigeria to three games.
The venue was the National Stadium in Surulere which, commisioned in 1972, had hosted the final of the 1980 and 2000 AFCON competitions.
Nigeria had a full complement of her foreign based players with Ike Shourunmu in goal, Godwin Okpara and Ifeanyi Udeze at full backs; Taribo West and Isaac Okoronkwo in central defence with captain Sunday Oliseh in the defensive midfield.
Finidi George and Emmanuel Amuneke played from the flanks Victor Ikpeba and Austin Okocha supported Victor Agali who played as the pointman.
It was expected to be a rooutine win for the Super Eagles, who had just lost the AFCON final on penalties to Cameroon the previous year after a six-year absence from the competition.
Going into the game, the Super Eagles led Group 1 with four points from two games after beating Namibia 4-0 and holding Madagascar to a 0-0 draw on Matchday 3 while the Zambians occupied third spot with three points. They lost at home on opening day to Madagascar but went to Namibia to take all three points in their second game.
A win for Nigeria would open a four-point lead and depending on the outcome of the other group game between Namibia and Madagascar, Zambia could find themselves way down the ladder so they were determined to shock the Super Eagles on their own ground.
Kick-off was at 4pm and the Centre Referee was Kamel Berber from Algeria. Stadium was filled to capacity, a far cry from the last home game that had about 30 percent spectators.
The Zambians showed intent of what was to come as they were booked as early as the 5th minute when Jones Mwewa was cautioned with a yellow card. Another rough play forced a change for Nigeria in the 22nd minute as Tijani Babangida replaced Emmanuel Amunike.
The match was just 33 minutes when debutant Victor Agali scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
Though a goal down, Zambia picked up another yellow card in the 37th minute when Misheck Lungu was booked by referee Berber.
First half ended 1-nil and, on resumption of the second half, Nigeria withdrew goalscorer Agali and sent on Julius Aghahowa. Zambia did likewise, sending on Charles Bwala for Philimon Chipeta.
Ikpeba, who scored an hattrick on Matchday 1 against Namibia went off for Garba Lawal and, five minutes later, Zambia also pulled off Andrew Tembo for Rotson Kilambe but the scoreline remained unchanged.
With time running out, the Zambians got desperate and, first Laughter Chilembe was cautioned with a yellow card in the 85th minute before Hillary Makasa was red-carded and sent off in the 89th minute.
Full time: Nigeria 1-0 Zambia.
Ultimately, both countries qualified for Mali 2002, Nigeria winning the group with 14 points while Zambia overtook Madagascar with eight points.
On that day, nobody knew that the Super Eagles would not play a competitive game in Lagos again for another 20 years until 2021.