Nigeria chase first win in World Cup Qualifiers

Nigeria chase first win in World Cup Qualifiers
Raphael Onyedika (r) during the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers training for Nigeria at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria on 6 June 2024 ©Justina Aniefiok/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday Jun 09, 2024. 12:00

Nigeria will chase a first win in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they face hosts Benin at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on the evening of Monday 10 June 2024.

Kick-off is at 18:00 CAT.

Nigeria have recorded three successive 1-1 draws in Group C, most recently being held by South Africa in Uyo on Friday night. The Super Eagles found themselves a goal down when Themba Zwane opened the scoring in the first half for Bafana Bafana, but the hosts struck back early in the second via Fisayo Dele-Bashiru.

As a result of their hat-trick of stalemates, Nigeria are placed second from bottom (fifth) in the standings, with only Zimbabwe below them. The good news is that surprise leaders Lesotho are only two points ahead of the West African heavyweights, but the need to get that first ‘W’ on the board is growing in urgency.

We missed chances, overall it was not a bad second half for us,” said Nigeria coach Finidi George.

The players reacted well in the second half, but it was not the best result we wanted, we have to get our heads up and work for the next game [against Benin]. I am not happy about the point.”

Benin, meanwhile, opened the group up with their 1-0 win over Rwanda on Thursday in which Dokou Dodo struck the only goal late in the first half. The Cheetahs are third on four points (level with second-placed Rwanda and fourth-placed South Africa) and hoping that the intimate knowledge coach Gernot Rohr has of Nigeria gives them an edge for this clash. The German tactician spent five years in charge of the Super Eagles from 2016 to 2021.

In head-to-head stats, Benin and Nigeria have met in 16 previous matches, dating back as far as 1977. The Super Eagles have claimed 13 wins compared to just one for the Cheetahs, while two games have been drawn.

The teams last met in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Porto Novo in March 2021 which was won 1-0 by Nigeria thanks to a late strike from Paul Onuachu.

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