Sports

Don’t judge me by Mali defeat as I have plans to beat South Africa, Benin – Nigeria coach, Finidi

Super Eagles coach Finidi George has vowed to put in everything he has got to ensure Nigeria qualifies for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Soccernet.ng reports.

Nigeria’s qualifying campaign is not going great at the moment as the Super Eagles boast only two points to sit third of their group behind Rwanda and South Africa.

A lot is riding on Nigeria’s next two games as the Super Eagles could overtake their major challengers with a win over South Africa and Benin in June.

However, no one knows what to expect of Finidi, who was only appointed as the new head coach of the Super Eagles last week.

The former Ajax Amsterdam winger led Nigeria to a disappointing 2-0 friendly defeat against Mali in March, a few days after claiming a 2-1 win over Ghana.

Finidi is convinced, though, that with the support of Nigerians, the Super Eagles will meet all set targets.

While asking that he is not judged by the single defeat on his record, the Enyimba FC coach assures that he has been monitoring Nigeria’s next opponents and has been in contact with some Super Eagles players.

Coach Finidi George
Coach Finidi George

“The World Cup qualification matches against South Africa and Benin Republic is a collective responsibility for all Nigerians,” Finidi said, as per Complete Sports.

“I know I am in charge now and the heavy responsibility is on me to win the two world cup matches.

“I will do my best to ensure success and qualify for the world Cup. I am also in touch with the players and they are ready and willing yo give their all having missed out in the last edition held in Qatar.

“In terms of having knowledge of our opponents, I have been following them.

“The world today is a global village, one can monitor anything in the comfort of his/ her sitting room.

“We need prayers and support from everybody, this is our own we can do it and do it well. I watch our players weekly as they play in their various clubs. Honestly my target is to win the two matches and not to be judged with the two international friendly game played.”

Nigeria and South Africa played a 1-1 full-time draw the last time they met in the semifinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations last February. The Super Eagles eventually won that tie on penalties.

NB: Is it unfair to judge Finidi by the Super Eagles’ defeat to Mali in March? Leave your comments below.