Benin Cheetahs Beat Super Eagles to Dim Nigeria’s Chances of Qualifying for World Cup

Femi Solaja

Nigeria’s poor run in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers continued yesterday with Benin Republic defeating the Super Eagles 2-1 to temporarily move to the top of Group C on seven points.

With a miserable three points from a possible 12, Super Eagles are stuck in fifth spot in the six-team group.  Nigeria’s chances of making it to the 2026 World Cup to be jointly hosted by Canada, USA and Mexico now hangs in the balance. 

It was massive triumph for Benin Republic’s German Coach, Gernot Rohr who was sacked from the Nigerian job in 2021 after leading Super Eagles to third placed finish at AFCON 2019 and qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia where Nigeria crashed out in the first round.

The Coach Finidi George coached Eagles started the game on top, controlling the play and bossing possession. On the other hand, Benin were content with sitting back and hitting the Super Eagles on the counter.

Nigeria created the better chances with Ademola Lookman getting close midway into the first half.  However, he was unable to find the target.

Super Eagles finally got on the front foot in the 27th minute when Samuel Chukwueze displayed a moment of brilliance on the right side for Raphael Onyedika, who was lurking in front of the box to score within the area.

The lead did not last long, however, as Jodel Dossou capitalised on some shambolic defending from Nigeria’s backline and scored to make it 1-1 after 37 minutes.

Eight minutes later, just before the break, Benin scored again. And it was still because of their poor defending.

The Cheetahs won a corner on the right side of their attack. The corner was a poor one, but the Super Eagles did not defend it well. Eventually, it fell to Brest attacker Steve Mounie, who struck the ball into the net with aplomb to make it 2-1.

The possibility of the Super Eagles winning the group is now very remote while picking a second place to go into a tortuous playoff series that will involve four best second-placed teams among nine is now Nigeria’s best route to reach the Mundial.

The four best second placed teams will go into a play-off while the winner will further go into an inter-continental play-off to get to the World Cup.

The fate of Finidi George as Super Eagles gaffer will become the major subject of discussion at the NFF’s Sunday Dankaro Secretariat following his display of lack of capacity to handle the post vacated by Portuguese Jose Peseiro.


Team.                  P.     W.   D.  L.   F.   A.  GD. PTS

Benin.                   4.     2.      1.    1.  4.    3.    1.      7 

Lesotho.               3.      1.     2.   0.   3.    1.    2.     5

Rwanda.               3.      1.     1.   1.    2.    1.   1       4

S’Africa.                3.      1.     1.    1.     3.    4.  -1.   4

Nigeria.                 4      0.     3.    1.     4.    5.   -1.   3

Zimbabwe.           3.     0.     2.     1.      1.    3.   -2.   2


Benin 2-1 Nigeria

G’Bissau 1-1 Egypt 

B’Faso 2-2 S’Leone

Somalia 1-3 Botswana 

Uganda 1-2 Algeria

Guinea 0-1 Mo’bique 

E’Guinea 1-0 Malawi

Ghana 4-3 CAR


Lesotho v Rwanda

S’Africa v Zimbabwe 

S’Sudan v Sudan

Mauritius v Eswatini

C’Verde v Libya

Angola v Cameroon

Zambia v Tanzania 

Congo v Morocco 

Kenya v Côte d’Ivoire 

Gabon v Gambia

Ma’gascar v Mali

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