Bafana boost after Nigeria’s Fifa World Cup qualifiers struggle continue with a shock result against Benin

Nigeria's bid to qualify for the 2026 Fifa World Cup suffered a major blow after a shock 2-1 loss against Benin on Monday evening at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

The Super Eagles came into the match desperate for a win after identical 1-1 draws against Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and South Africa respectively, but things didn't go as planned against the Cheetahs.

It was the Finidi George-led team who had a brighter opening and were rewarded after 27 minutes when Raphael Onyedika found the back of the net.

Benin – who are coached by former Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr, upped their tempo in search of an equalizer. Jodel Dossou responded in style in the 37th minute to bring the two West African nations into level terms.

The second goal, which turned out to be the winning strike, came during the first-half stoppages courtesy of Steve Mounie.

'Let us do our job!’ – Finidi George blasts Super Eagles fans over Boniface clamour
LAGOS, NIGERIA – JUNE 5: Coach Finidi George of Enyimba during the Nigeria Professional Football League NPFL – Super League 6 match between Lobi Stars and Enyimba at Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Stadium on June 5, 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo by Shengolpixs Copyright: xAMADAxMASARUx

What does the result mean for Finidi George and the Super Eagles?

Moments after a draw with South Africa in Uyo, the former Nigeria international slammed the media and the fans for dictating who the technical bench should field and who not to.

The 53-year-old has enough players – despite the absence of Kenneth Omeruo, Victor Osimhen, Nathan Tella, and Nathan Tella due to several reasons, to deliver a positive outcome against teams like Benin.

This is just the second competitive game George is managing, but the pressure is slowly building on whether he has what it takes to help his nation qualify for the prestigious global tournament.

The match against Rwanda is coming in March 2025 and George will most probably have a few international matches to shape his team. If he fails to deliver, the NFF might replace him but it might be a little too late for the country to bounce back.

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos
Hugo Broos, head coach of South Africa during the South Africa Press Conference at Charles Konan Stadium in Yamoussoukro on the 02 February 2024 – Photo by Icon Sport – Photo by Icon Sport

Time for Mzansi to rejoice? A boost ahead of Tuesday's clash

On Tuesday, Bafana Bafana – who are seen as Nigeria's main rivals in the group, host Zimbabwe.

It is a must-win game for them to show their seriousness and desire to play in their first World Cup since 2010 when they hosted.

Currently, Benin lead the group with seven points, two less than Lesotho with Rwanda and South Africa coming next with four points each. After the loss, Nigeria remain with three points, one more than Zimbabwe.

Bafana boost after Nigeria’s Fifa World Cup qualifiers struggle continue with a shock result against Benin
Willis Sob

Willis Sob is an experienced journalist who has been in the game since 2009, covering major assignments around the continent.
His hunger for African football is unmatched, always getting the best angles and facts to feed the fans and quench their thirst.