‘I don’t have anything to prove’ – Finidi ahead of crucial Bafana Bafana clash

Super Eagles head coach, Finidi George, is banking on the quality of his squad to overcome South Africa in Friday's crucial qualifier for the 2026 FIFA World Cup at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

In what will be his first game in charge since being announced as head coach, Finidi believes the players understand the message and have what it takes to deliver.

NPFL 2023/2024: Remo Stars vs Rivers United, Nigeria
Photo by NFF Media

I trust the capacity of my players – Finidi George

“No doubt about the capacity of the players. They know it's a must-win, and we have to approach it like that,” Finidi said

“Personally, I don't have anything to prove. It's you guys that are hyping everything. For me, I am relaxed. It's football; we know what is at stake. We will do our best and leave the rest.”

“I believe if the boys can do what we want to do tomorrow, I think victory will be ours. Like I said before, I am not someone that is scared.

I played the game, and you can only get three results: either you lose, win, or draw. So we are going for the victory tomorrow.”

“We have trained so well, and we are just waiting for tomorrow's kick-off.” he added.

NPFL players have value to add

Finidi George also spoke about the inclusion of players from the Nigeria Premier Football League in the Super Eagles and said he will keep watching the league to find players who can add value to the team.

Sodiq Ismael of Remo Stars, Kenneth Igboke of Rangers, and goalkeeper Leke Ojo of Enyimba are the trio in camp for the South Africa game.

“We invited three players from the NPFL. I think that's enough for now. The criteria are that we will keep watching the league and then see those that are good enough to join us,” he said.

“It's a gradual process, and we want to encourage the players back home as well, but that does not mean we just have to change the structure.

“That's not gonna be possible in my time, so don't quote me wrong.

“We will definitely bring in players that are capable of adding value to what we want to do. At the same time, we will still keep the structure. Every now and then, we will bring them in, so it's not a problem.”

Finidi George names Super Eagles squad for South Africa, Benin World Cup qualifiers
Photo by Icon Sport

No injury worries for Nigeria

Finidi also gave an injury update on the team as they trained for the last time ahead of Friday’s clash with South Africa.

“For me, I think all the players are ready. Chukwueze had a knock, but he trained properly yesterday. Awaziem had a stomach upset, but he's fine now.”

“As for the strike, no, the strike didn't affect us. It only affected two players (Iwobi and Okoye). We got a training program for them, so I don't think that will be a problem.”

The 1994 AFCON winner, who led Enyimba FC to Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) glory last year, has qualification for the next World Cup as part of his mandate, and the journey begins with the game against Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Friday night.

After Friday's clash, the Super Eagles will engage Benin Republic on Matchday 4 of the qualifiers in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, on Monday.

‘I don’t have anything to prove’ – Finidi ahead of crucial Bafana Bafana clash
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)