Nigeria May Miss 2026 World Cup As Cheetahs Beat Super Eagles

Date:

Joel Ajayi

Nigeria’s Super Eagles could miss two consecutive World Cup tournaments as the team’s hope of qualification for the 2026 edition dwindles.

This is after the Super Eagles lost to Benin 2-1 on Monday, June 10 in their matchday 4 played in Ivory Coast. Benin’s adopted home is Ivory Coast after CAF ruled their stadiums are not good enough to host the qualifiers.

It was the first loss for the Super Eagles in the qualifiers and they languish 5th in Group C with three points from four matches.

Benin, led by former Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr, shot to the top of the standings on seven points.

Raphael Onyedika gave the Super Eagles the lead in the 27th minute to crown a bright start for the visitors.

Samuel Chukwueze darted inside the box from the right flank before he found Onyedika on the edge of the box and the Club Brugge midfielder fired home an unstoppable shot beyond the diving Benin goalkeeper Marcel Dandjinou.

Benin drew level in the 36th minute when Calvin Bassey failed to clear a long ball and Jodel Dossou sprinted clear to slot past Stanley Nwabali in the Nigeria goal.

The Cheetahs then went in front in stoppage time through skipper Steve Mounie, who put away a flick off a corner from inside the six-yard box.

The Super Eagles made two attacking changes soon after action resumed for the second half – Paul Onuachu on for Terem Moffi and Victor Boniface replaced Alex Iwobi.

In the 54th minute, Chukwueze’s measured cross into the box was fluffed by both Onuachu and Ademola Lookman with only the Benin goalkeeper to beat.

Benin frustrated Nigeria by keeping the ball as much as possible as the minutes ticked away.

Onuachu saw a desperate header come off the crossbar in added time as The Cheetahs remained resolute in defense and Nigeria could not break through their backline again.

Matchday 5 of the qualifiers will resume in March 2025.

There are six more matches to play before the qualification series in concluded. Nigeria has drawn three matches before today’s defeat. They drew 1-1 against Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, scoring four goals and conceding five.

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