Super Eagles begin preparation for Bafana Bafana clash

Nigeria’s Super Eagles commenced their initial training session in Uyo in preparation for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin.

The training session was held at the Godswill Akpabio training pitch, with head coach Finidi George and his assistants guiding the 13 players who have reported so far.

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Wilfred Ndidi, who has been holidaying in Nigeria, has joined the team, as has Terem Moffi from OGC Nice in France and Bundesliga winner Victor Boniface.

Also in camp are Chidoziem Awaziem, Raphael Onyedika, and Royal Antwerp’s defensive midfielder Alhassan Yusuf. These players bring a wealth of experience and talent to the squad, which is crucial for the upcoming fixtures.

Camp officially opens in Uyo

The team's camp officially opened on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with the first training session taking place on Sunday morning.

This session included a series of stretches to help the players recover from their travels, as well as some physical exercises.

The players engaged in rigorous drills designed to enhance their stamina and agility, which are vital for their performance on the field.

Towards the end of the training, the team worked on passing and shooting drills. This marked Finidi George’s first official training session since his appointment as head coach, adding a fresh dynamic to the team's preparation.

The Super Eagles‘ preparation is crucial as they are set to play against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Friday 7 June.

This match is pivotal for Nigeria's aspirations to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. After the game against South Africa, the team will fly to Abidjan to play Benin on 10 June.

These matches are seen as critical tests for the team, and a successful outcome is imperative to boost their chances of qualifying for the World Cup considering the poor start to the qualifiers by the team.

13 players in camp, more expected

Several players arrived early to the camp, including former Bendel Insurance captain Benjamin Tanimu, Enyimba goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo, and Çaykur Rizespor's versatile player Ibrahim Olawoyin.

On Saturday, the squad was bolstered by the arrival of the Nigeria Premier Football League duo of Rangers left-back Kenneth Igboke and Remo Stars right-wing back Ismail Sadiq.

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Their inclusion adds depth to the squad, providing more options for the coaching staff in terms of team selection and strategy.

Samuel Chukwueze, who was doubtful for the game, has also arrived, bringing relief to fans and teammates alike.

Alongside him, Chippa United's Stanley Nwabali and Hatayspor midfielder Fisayo Dele-Bashiru have joined the camp.

The remaining squad members are expected to arrive by the end of Sunday, while a full house is expected on Monday according to sources in the camp.

Super Eagles have to win

The Super Eagles are currently in a challenging position in Group C. They have secured two points from their first two matches, both ending in draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

This leaves Nigeria in third place, trailing group leaders Rwanda by two points and South Africa by one.

With the group winner earning automatic qualification for the World Cup, each match is critical for Nigeria’s hopes of securing a spot in the tournament, which will be hosted by the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

Under the new leadership of Finidi George, the Super Eagles are hopeful of turning their qualifying campaign around and securing their place in the prestigious 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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The team’s recent performances have shown promise, and there is a renewed sense of optimism and determination among the players and coaching staff. The upcoming matches will be a true test of their capabilities and resolve.

As the Super Eagles continue their preparations, the entire nation watches with bated breath, hoping for victories that will edge them closer to the World Cup.

The blend of experienced players and fresh talents in the squad, coupled with the strategic acumen of Finidi George, could prove to be the perfect recipe for success.

Super Eagles begin preparation for 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)