Okocha: Why Super Eagles May Struggle to Qualify for World Cup in 2026 Ahead of 2023 AFCON

Okocha: Why Super Eagles May Struggle to Qualify for World Cup in 2026 Ahead of 2023 AFCON

Chukwu Ikechukwu
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
A. A. Okocha
--Nigeria logo
FIFA World Cup logo
FIFA World Cup
  • Jay Jay Okocha is unimpressed with the Super Eagles' efforts
  • Nigeria sits third in Group B in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers
  • The Super Eagles have garnered two points from two games

Nigeria runs the risk of missing out on back-to-back FIFA World Cups after a slow start in the 2026 tournament qualifiers which saw them record two consecutive draws.

The Super Eagles lie third in Group C behind Rwanda and South Africa with two points from their opening two games, after consecutive 1-1 draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

Nigeria, Super Eagles, FIFA World Cup, Jay Jay Okocha
Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and they run the risk of missing out of the 2026 edition. Photo by Carlos Rodrigues.
Source: Getty Images

According to Soccernet, former Super Eagles captain, Jay Jay Okocha has slammed the team, claiming they have been focused on rivalry and underrating other teams in their group.

He acknowledged the Nigerian national team did not get off to a good start and said they were ultimately fortunate that Bafana Bafana lost their second qualifier, per Sunday World.

"I think we are focusing more on the rivalry between South Africa and Nigeria instead of focusing on qualifying. It’s a big surprise that Rwanda is topping the group."

Nigeria, who failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after being knocked out by Ghana, will face Bafana Bafana on June 3, 2024, when the qualifiers resume after the Africa Cup of Nations.

Peseiro drops Nigeria’s AFCON list

Meanwhile, former U17 Golden Boy, Kelechi Nwakali and Sporting Lagos goalkeeper, Christian Nwoke are the surprise names in Nigeria’s provisional list for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, ACL Sports reports.

Nwoke is one of three home-based players in a squad that did not include the apparently uninterested Maduka Okoye or Doma United's most in-form custodian, Kingdom Osayi.

The quartet of captain Ahmed Musa, vice-captain William Troost-Ekong, Zaidu Sanusi, and Paul Onuachu, who have not been part of the Super Eagles’ recent engagements, were all included in the provisional list.

Osimhen backs Nigeria for AFCON

Sports Brief also previously reported on Victor Osimhen declaring Nigeria is ready for AFCON 2023 and is optimistic about the tournament in Ivory Coast next year.

The Super Eagles last won the tournament in 2013 when Steven Keshi led the team to its third continental title, but they have failed to make the final since then.

The 2023 Africa Player of the Year, Osimhen remains confident the Super Eagles are raring to go and have the capacity to defeat other top teams to the AFCON title.

Chukwu Ikechukwu photo
Chukwu Ikechukwu
Chukwu Ikechukwu Godwin is a journalist with over 9 years of experience in the Nigerian media industry. He has worked both in Radio (Today FM, Rhythm FM, Wish FM) and Television (Silverbird TV) as a Sports Analyst..