'We have the players that can do the job' - Nigeria legend warns Bafana Bafana, Cheetahs ahead of WCQs

Published: April 24, 2024
'We have the players that can do the job' - Nigeria legend warns Bafana Bafana, Cheetahs ahead of WCQs

Nigeria legend Tijani Babangida has fired a warning to South Africa's Bafana Bafana and Benin Republic's Cheetahs ahead of the 2026 World Cup qualifying matches in June 2024.

The Super Eagles will lock horns with South Africa on Friday, June 7 at the  Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, before a meeting with Gernot Rohr's Benin at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan. 

Bafana Bafana are aiming for revenge after their shootout loss to the Super Eagles at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, while Gernot Rohr, coach of Benin, has scores to settle with Nigeria after his acrimonious departure as coach of the Super Eagles in December 2021. 

The Nigeria Football Federation have not sorted out the appointment of a new coach six weeks before the match with South Africa. 

Although Babangida is worried about the coaching situation, he expects the Super Eagles to get their qualifying campaign back on track with wins against South Africa and Benin. 

After two matchdays in Group C of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, Nigeria are third with two points, one less than South Africa and two behind surprise package Rwanda. 

Speaking to Hot Sports' Toyin Ibitoye, Babangida said: "The match against South Africa will be more stronger, even though football nowadays has changed. Even Benin have the chance to surprise us.

"We have to take it more positively because we know what it is at stake. We are Super Eagles, we are Nigeria, we have the players that can do the job.

"We have to just tell them and they know about it, and go for it."

On the late appointment of a Super Eagles coach, the former Ajax Amsterdam winger said: "Yes, it's worrisome because after we defeated South Africa in the semifinals of the AFCON they said they were waiting for us in Johannesburg and also the match we are going to play in Lagos.

"We are having issues of coaching and it's something NFF have to do very fast so that the coach can start organizing and trying to make a team before the time."

Babangida's best moment in a Nigeria jersey was scoring a first half brace in a 2-0 win over South Africa in the semifinals of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations. 

Ifeanyi Emmanuel 


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