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Editorials, Sports

Three Imperatives for Nigeria’s 2026 FIFA World Cup Dreams

Narrow, but not impossible. Nigeria clings to a threadbare hope of reaching the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 12th June 2024
World Cup

The Nigerian Super Eagles face a stern test of their resilience after suffering their first defeat in the 2026 CAF World Cup qualifiers against Benin Republic. This setback, coupled with a string of underwhelming results, throws their automatic qualification chances into serious jeopardy.


Currently winless after four matches, the Super Eagles find themselves trailing Benin Republic by a significant four points.


While some have written off Finidi George’s team, a path to qualification remains, albeit a narrow one. Three crucial factors will determine Nigeria’s fate in their quest to reach the World Cup finals hosted across the United States, Mexico, and Canada.



Go On A Six Game Winning Streak


The margin for error has vanished entirely. Every one of their remaining six matches takes on the gravity of a final. Victories are no longer simply desirable, they are absolutely essential. South Africa, Benin Republic (again), Zimbabwe, and Lesotho all await the Super Eagles for return fixtures, alongside crucial home and away clashes against Rwanda.


The pressure is immense. Anything less than a clean sweep of victories in these remaining games will see Nigeria’s World Cup dreams dashed, leaving them watching the global showpiece from the sidelines. The Super Eagles must rise to the occasion and deliver a series of dominant performances if they are to have any hope of gracing the international stage in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.


Benin’s Home Fortress Crumbles


While no team in Group C has managed to secure an away victory yet, Benin Republic has taken home advantage to a whole new level. They boast a perfect record at their home stadium, collecting a maximum of six points from their two matches played there so far. This dominant home form bodes well for their future qualification prospects.


With three more home fixtures against South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho on the horizon, Benin Republic has the potential to solidify their lead at the top of the table. Especially if they can secure wins against their closest rivals, the Crocodiles of Lesotho and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, on home soil, qualification could become a very real possibility.



A Ton Of Draws


The Super Eagles find themselves in a precarious position where even Zimbabwe’s victories pose a threat. Ideally, they’d want to see stalemates erupt across the group, particularly in matches involving Benin Republic, Lesotho, South Africa, and Rwanda.

While four rounds of qualifiers have been completed, eight more matchdays remain. During this time, other teams could potentially drop points through draws. The upcoming fixtures between South Africa and Lesotho (played twice) present a crucial opportunity to shake up the group standings, and a string of draws in these matches would be a welcome sight for the Nigerian team. By limiting point gains for their competitors, the Super Eagles can open a window for their own qualification push.

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