Wounded ex Rohr loses key defender, forward ahead of Super Eagles 2026 World Cup showdown

Nigeria’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying opponents Benin have seen their squad ravaged by injuries after two key players were ruled out due to injuries.

The Cheetahs will be without forward Andreas Hountondji and defender Olivier Verdon for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda and the Super Eagles.

Gernot Rohr’s side has just one point from two games in Group C after a rather poor start to their qualifying campaign. Benin kicked off the World Cup qualifiers with a 1-2 defeat at the hands of South Africa before being held by Lesotho to a goalless draw in their second game. The West African nation, therefore, currently sits at the bottom of their group with just a single point.

Wounded ex Gernot Rohr loses key defender, forward ahead of Super Eagles showdown
Photo by Icon Sport

Having played both of their opening two matches on the road, the Cheetahs will now host Rwanda and Nigeria in their next qualifying matches on June 6 and June 10, respectively.

The two games will, however, be played in Abidjan after Benin adopted the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium as their home ground. Their original home venue failed to meet CAF’s standards.

Gernot Rohr without Hountondji, Verdon for Super Eagles clash

According to reports, Benin will be denied the services of two of their key players after Hountondji and Verdon pulled out of the squad due to injuries.

Gernot Rohr, who previously managed Nigeria from 2016 to 2021, will have to shuffle his pack without the injured duo.

Wounded ex Gernot Rohr loses key defender, forward ahead of Super Eagles showdown
Photo by Icon Sport

Hountondji, who plays for French side Caen but was on loan at Ligue 2 club Rodez in the just-ended season, would have been a valuable asset for Benin in the qualifiers after finishing the campaign with 16 goals and seven assists in all competitions.

However, the striker will not be able to feature for his country after failing to recover from an injury he sustained against Saint-Etienne three weeks ago.

Dependable defender Verdon, who has been capped 34 times by the Cheetahs, will also miss the games against Rwanda and Nigeria due to injury, leaving Rohr without two of his most important players for the upcoming assignments.

Wounded ex Rohr loses key defender, forward ahead of Super Eagles 2026 World Cup showdown
Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an Asante Kotoko fan and a passionate sports journalist with a little over five years of experience writing about African football.

His articles and features have been published in renowned news media like The Guardian, DW, Al Jazeera and Sportskeeda. His bylines can also be found in the UK journals World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.