Champions Zambia must win their last group game against Burkina Faso in Nelspruit on Tuesday to stand any chance of reaching the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
Two below-par performances in their opening matches have left Zambia with two points and in a tight corner, where they need victory to leapfrog Group C leaders Burkina Faso who have four points.
Zambia have shown little of the form that saw them win the Nations Cup one year ago and even relied on goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene's 85th-minute penalty against Nigeria to salvage a draw.
Burkina Faso have emerged as Zambia's surprise rivals for top billing in Group C after beating Ethiopia 4-0 in Nelspruit last Thursday.
A draw will be enough to see them through to the quarter-finals for the first time in their last six attempts and Alain Traore has recovered from an ankle injury to emerge as the tournament's top scorer with three goals.
Nigeria, who like Zambia have also drawn their opening two games, start as favourites to overcome Ethiopia in the other group match at Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.
They might have been better placed had they not conceded a last-gasp equaliser to Burkina Faso in their first game, followed by Zambia's controversial late penalty against them.
Both Ethiopia and Nigeria could be without key players for the games due to injury, said their respective coaches on Monday.
On Monday Ghana and Mali joined Group A teams South Africa and Cape Verde Islands in the quarter-finals.
Ghana topped Group B after beating Niger 3-0 in Port Elizabeth and Mali went through in second place following their 1-1 draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Durban.
Brazil forward voices his support for protesters who have taken to the streets of Brazil
Tahiti coach says it would be "quite impossible" for his team to beat world champions Spain
Neymar puts in best performance for his country in 2-0 win over Mexico in Confederations Cup
Substitute Sebastian Giovinco taps in late goal to secure Italy thrilling 4-3 win over Japan
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010