Super Eagles Tackle Benin In Must-Win Clash

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Fifth placed Super Eagles will battle perennial foes and West African neighbour, Cheetahs of Benin Republic Benin in one of the fourth round fixtures of Group C of the 2026 FIFA World Cup African Qualifiers slated for Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Cote d’Ivoire on Monday.

The defining encounter is coming three days after the Finidi George-led squad failed to beat the Bafana Bafana of South Africa at home in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

This makes the Monday’s game a must win for the Eagles to keep their hope of playing at the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico alive.

The Eagles will be against former handler, Gernot Rohr who steered his little Benin side to 1-0 win over Rwanda in their third game of the group on Thursday.

The victory against Rwanda moved Benin to third place in the group with four points ahead of South Africa and Nigeria in fourth and fifth positions respectively.

The Super Eagles, languishing in the fifth position in the table, have endured a terrible campaign so far even though they are unbeaten in three matches.

With time running out for them, Finidi George and his players cannot afford any more slip-ups as the next few matches will be a must-win, starting from tonight’s against Benin, for them to qualify.

Speaking ahead of the game, Coach Finidi George expressed his disappointment with the draw against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, but confident that the Super Eagles will bounce back and get their qualification on the right track.

“I am not shaken, I am relaxed, we know what is at stake, we know we have to qualify (for the World Cup), but that does not mean we have to run helter-skelter because of the draw,” the 53-year-old said.

“We dropped points and that should not break us, a positive result will change the narrative. It is not the best result we wanted, we have to get our heads up and work for the next game (Benin).”

A win for Nigeria against Benin Republic would significantly boost Nigeria’s standing and revive their World Cup hopes.

Head-to-head, Nigeria has dominated Benin Republic, winning 13 of their 16 encounters, with two draws and one loss.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Hon. Mohammed Buba Jajere has charged the Super Eagles to put behind them the 1-1 draw against their South African counterparts in Uyo on Friday and go all out for victory in the match against Benin Republic in Cote d’Ivoire.

The lawmaker representing Fika/Fune Federal Constituency of Yobe State said it is too early for Nigerians to entertain fears of another World Cup mishap despite Eagles poor start to the qualifiers.

Jajere said even as the Super Eagles did not win against South Africa in Uyo, they showed the right fighting spirit, which enabled them to avoid a home defeat.
“It is too early to give up. The Super Eagles have seven more matches to play and amend the precarious situation.

“So, even as they have dropped six valuable points, they can still recover the lost ground in the remaining matches.

“But to keep hope alive, they must win against the Benin Republic tomorrow (Monday). With their former coach Gernot Rohr leading the Cheetahs, it will be a very difficult match, so the Super Eagles must bring their A game into the contest.

“Like I said, it is not going to be a stroll in the park but with the right approach and attitude, the Super Eagles can win their first match in the qualification series,” said Jajere.

The lawmaker therefore called on all Nigerians to rally round the Super Eagles in their quest to qualify for the next World Cup.

Since their debut at USA 94, the Super Eagles have failed to qualify for only two editions of the World Cup, which is Germany 2006 and Qatar 2022.

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