Nigeria’s 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign has hit a roadblock, with the Super Eagles yet to secure a victory in their four matches. Their recent defeat to the Benin Republic has left them languishing in the second-from-bottom position in Group C. Former Nigeria coach and current Benin boss, Gernot Rohr, has shed light on the team’s struggles, highlighting the absence of key players in their last two matches.

Nigeria’s World Cup Qualifiers Struggle Continues as Finidi George’s Team Misses Key Players

Under the guidance of former coach Jose Peseiro, Nigeria failed to overcome lower-ranked teams such as Lesotho and Zimbabwe. Despite a remarkable African Cup of Nations campaign, which temporarily masked their weaknesses, the team’s performance was far from convincing.

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Following Peseiro’s departure, Finidi George took charge of the team with high expectations. However, his tenure has been marred by disappointing results. The team was held to a draw by South Africa in Uyo, and shortly after, suffered a painful defeat at the hands of Rohr’s Benin in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, leading to speculation about George’s resignation.

With six matches remaining in the qualifiers, Nigeria cannot afford to miss out on a second consecutive FIFA World Cup. The absence of star striker Victor Osimhen, the African Footballer of the Year, was acutely felt in Nigeria’s matches against South Africa. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) confirmed that Osimhen would miss the qualifiers due to injury. Alongside Osimhen, the Super Eagles also missed the contributions of William Troost-Ekong and Moses Simon, both regulars in the national team.

Rohr acknowledged the difficulties faced by George’s team without these key players, stating, “It was difficult for them without Osimhen, Ekong, and Moses Simon. It’s a good team Finidi has, and perhaps missing the very best players and Osimhen also, he can have some explanations for the defeat.” Despite the setbacks, Rohr remains hopeful that Nigeria still has a chance of qualifying for the World Cup.

“The group is still open, and only four points separate us with six games to play,” Rohr emphasized. “It’s possible that in all the last games, there can be a decision in Uyo when we play Nigeria. It could be a final because the Super Eagles will come back.”

Looking ahead, Nigeria is set to face Benin in the second leg of the qualifiers in October 2025. The upcoming matches will be crucial for the team’s chances of securing a spot in the prestigious tournament.

In the midst of Nigeria’s struggles, former player Sam Sodje has voiced his opinion, calling for George’s dismissal. However, it remains to be seen whether the Nigerian Football Federation will take any action in response to Sodje’s statement.

As Nigeria navigates the remaining matches of the World Cup qualifiers, the team must regroup and find ways to overcome their challenges. With a wealth of talent at their disposal, the Super Eagles have the potential to turn their campaign around and secure a spot in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.