EXCLUSIVE: The coach knows what I bring to the team – Benjamin Tanimu

Super Eagles defender Benjamin Tanimu expressed that not defeating South Africa on Friday would be a huge disappointment for him personally, as Nigeria aim to revive their FIFA World Cup campaign.

The Eagles currently sit third in Group C with two points, having drawn their first two games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

Benjamin Tanimu
Credit: Victor Modo

This places significant importance on the upcoming match against Bafana Bafana.

Tanimu, earning his second call-up for Nigeria after debuting in the last international window, emphasised his commitment to performing at his best if selected to play against South Africa.

He also conveyed his excitement about being called up again.

Benjamin Tanimu excited with latest call-up

“I am very excited to get this call-up. It has been a dream for me to represent my country, and so I am excited to be back with the team again,” he told afrik-foot.com at the team’s camp in Uyo, in preparation for Friday’s game.

“We are working hard towards our goal, and I believe the coach knows that I can add value to the team; that is why they invited me. I am here to give my best like I always do whenever I step on the football pitch.”

Tanimu mentioned that the coaches and the Federation have been engaging with the players, motivating them to be at their best on game day.

The last time the two teams met in Nigeria, Bafana Bafana emerged victorious with a 2-0 win over the Super Eagles in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The former Bendel Insurance defender asserted that this time will be different, and it would be a huge disappointment if Nigeria failed to win the game.

Benjamin Tanimu
Photo by NFF media

Not winning would be a disappointment

“It has been a motivational message for us because even without them telling us anything, we know what's on the ground and we know what Nigeria wants,” Tanimu said.

“Not winning this game will be a very big disappointment to me as an individual, not to talk of us as a team.

I will say that we don't want to talk too much; we just wait till after the game on Friday so Nigerians can know what's on the ground, and they will be happy after the game.”

Tanimu also acknowledged the importance of the game, noting that playing at home comes with added pressure.

However, he insisted that the support of the fans will be a significant motivator for the team.

“In my experience, every home game is very difficult because you want to play well, you want the fans to be happy.

But I believe that it will also be a motivation for us because we have Nigerians supporting us, so I know that we are coming out with three points here in Nigeria,” he concluded.

EXCLUSIVE: The coach knows what I bring to the team – Benjamin Tanimu
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a veteran Nigerian sports journalist with over 20 years of experience covering the beautiful game across Africa. Andrew served as a Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 Men's National Team for three years, offering a unique perspective on the future stars of Nigerian football.

Beyond reporting, Andrew is a pioneer in sports graphics creation within Nigeria. His expertise extends to sports kit design, making him a true multi-faceted talent in the African sports landscape.

Andrew's experience is vast, with collaborations encompassing prestigious names like Kickoff, SuperSport, the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation), and the NPFL (Nigeria Professional Football League)