Nigeria vs South Africa: Notable Mistakes Finidi Made in His First Outing As Super Eagles Coach

Nigeria vs South Africa: Notable Mistakes Finidi Made in His First Outing As Super Eagles Coach

Ero Samson
updated at June 8, 2024 at 10:54 AM
In this article:
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
Themba Zwane logo
T. Zwane
Mamelodi Sundowns logoMSouth Africa logo
Paul Onuachu logo
P. Onuachu
Trabzonspor logoFNigeria logo
Victor Okoh Boniface logo
V. O. Boniface
Bayer Leverkusen logoFNigeria logo
Kelechi Iheanacho logo
K. Iheanacho
Leicester City logoFNigeria logo
Samuel Chukwueze logo
S. Chukwueze
AC Milan logoFNigeria logo
benjamin tanimu logo
Bendel Insurance logo--
Bright Osayi-Samuel logo
B. Osayi-Samuel
-MNigeria logo
  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria locked horns with South Africa's Bafana Bafana in the 2026 FIFA World Cup series
  • The crunch qualification fixture was Finidi George's first outing as the permanent manager of the Nigerian team
  • Sports Brief shines the spotlight on the notable errors from the 53-year-old’s debut as manager of the Super Eagles

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Finidi George began his tenure as the permanent manager of the Super Eagles with a lacklustre draw in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series against South Africa.

The fixture, which was undoubtedly a game of two halves, witnessed the South African team dominate proceedings in the first 45 minutes, their efforts yielding reward with a beautiful finish from forward, Themba Zwane, in the 28th minute of the encounter.

Nigeria, Super Eagles, NFF, CAF, FIFA World Cup, Finidi George, SOuth Africa
Finidi George made his debut as permanent manager of the Super Eagles in the clash against South Africa. Image: @NFF.
Source: Twitter

The second half of the fixture saw the Nigerian team respond with their own flurry of attacks, with Fisayo Dele-Bashiru restoring parity for the West African side against Bafana Bafana.

However, despite the result, the overall performance from the Nigerian team left many fans, who had their hopes high, with little to be desired.

In light of this, Sports Brief highlights the key mistakes and errors from Coach Finidi's debut as manager of the Nigerian team.

Notable mistakes from Finidi's Super Eagles debut

Onuachu’s selection over Boniface

The former Enyimba coach surprised many fans by opting to start Paul Onuachu over the widely anticipated Victor Boniface.

The Trabzonspor forward, who has been on brilliant form has often seen his game time limited with the Nigerian team and this was largely expected to continue.

However, Finidi made the bold decision to start the 30-year-old. Unfortunately, the lack of service to Onuachu, whose greatest strength lies in his aerial ability, rendered him largely ineffective as an attacking threat for Nigeria.

Iheanacho not a winger

Coach Finidi also made another surprising call, opting to play Kelechi Iheanacho on the flanks.

This decision, however, proved counterproductive, with the former Leicester City star having little to no impact on the play during the 67 minutes he was on for.

The decision to substitute the 27-year-old for Samuel Chukwueze almost yielded fruit, with the latter coming close to surging Nigeria into the lead.

Full-back problems

The country's football scene buzzed with discussions when Finidi announced a squad list that lacked a definite left full-back.

These issues were apparent in the clash against Bafana, as Bright Osayi-Samuel, a natural right-flanker, was deployed on the left, and Benjamin Tanimu, a centre-back, had to fill in at right full-back.

Although both defenders performed solidly, there were glaring signs that they were playing out of position.

The decision to deploy both defenders as full-backs also significantly impacted Onuachu's play,

Coach Finidi and the Super Eagles, however, will now be aiming to salvage their poor start with a victory against Benin Republic in their fourth match of the FIFA World Cup qualification series.

Dele-Bashiru shines for Super Eagles

In another report, Sports Brief highlighted Dele-Bashiru's standout performance as South Africa held Nigeria to a draw in round three of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification fixture.

The Turkish-based midfielder scored a crucial goal, securing Finidi his first point as manager of the Nigerian team.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).