Sports

Finidi George grapples with three new injury worries ahead of Super Eagles’ 2026 World Cup qualifiers vs South Africa and Benin

New Super Eagles head coach, Finidi George, faces a new injury challenge ahead of his debut game at the helm of the Nigerian national team, Soccernet.ng reports.

The former Real Betis forward, was unveiled by the Nigeria Football Federation as the successor to Jose Peseiro after an extensive six-week search for the ideal replacement.

His first major test comes in Nigeria’s upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic.

Injury Concerns for Finidi

Three key players from the Super Eagles’ 2023 Africa Cup of Nations squad are set to miss the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Samuel Chukwueze’s fitness is in doubt following an injury during AC Milan’s recent match against Cagliari. The extent of his left thigh muscle problem remains uncertain, casting doubt on his availability for Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Victor Osimhen missed Napoli’s Monday training session due to a muscle strain sustained against Bologna, leaving his availability uncertain for George’s side.

In addition, left-back Bruno Onyemaechi has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign due to a knee injury. With the Super Eagles also sweating over the fitness of Zaidu Sanusi, and Moses Simon.

Finidi’s 2026 World Cup Ambitions

As the new head coach, Finidi aims to guide the Super Eagles to qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup for the first time since 2018.

“My first goal is to secure qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup by winning the upcoming matches against South Africa and Benin Republic,” stated George, as quoted by NFF.com.

He emphasized the importance of preparing for the 2025 AFCON qualifiers, underscoring his commitment to enhancing the team’s performance as per his contract with the NFF.

“The 2025 AFCON qualifiers will commence soon, and we must be prepared for those as well. I am aware of the NFF’s expectations, and I will work diligently to elevate the team,” he added.

George, now the highest-paid indigenous coach in Nigeria, aims to demonstrate his capabilities when his team faces South Africa and Benin.