Benin vs Nigeria: Key Things Finidi George Must Do to Ensure Super Eagles Win Against the Cheetahs

Benin vs Nigeria: Key Things Finidi George Must Do to Ensure Super Eagles Win Against the Cheetahs

Ero Samson
updated at June 10, 2024 at 1:50 PM
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  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria go in search of their maiden 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification victory against Benin
  • The Nigerian team have so far recorded three draws through the series, including another against South Africa
  • Sports Brief shines the spotlight on key things coach Finidi George must do to ensure a win for his Nigerian team

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Despair is gradually setting in, and the odds are increasingly stacked against the Nigerian team following their failure to secure a victory in the first three fixtures of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series.

The Super Eagles, who were widely expected to dominate their Group C opponents, have so far failed to impress. The appointment of a new coach and their lacklustre performance against South Africa have done little to inspire confidence in their fans regarding their chances of securing a spot in the 2026 World Cup.

Nigeria, Super Eagles, NFF, Finidi George, Ademola Lookman, Wilfred Ndidi, Benin Republic, FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are presented with another opportunity to claim a first victory in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series with a clash against Benin Republic. Image: @NFF.
Source: Twitter

However, the West African football powerhouse can quickly turn their fortunes around with a victory in their upcoming clash against the Benin Republic.

A win against the Cheetahs would see the Super Eagles return to the top of their qualification group.

Given their performance in the previous three games, it must be emphasized that a victory against a highly spirited Benin side will be more challenging than many anticipate. Nigeria's coach, Finidi George, will need to make several key tactical decisions to secure the win.

In light of this, Sports Brief highlights the key strategies coach Finidi must implement to ensure victory against the Benin Republic.

What Finidi must do to secure win against Benin

Play a ball-playing centre-forward

The Nigerian team was largely undone in their previous match against South Africa due to the choice of centre-forward made by coach Finidi.

Finidi opted for the imposing figure of Paul Onuachu over Terem Moffi or Victor Boniface, both of whom have demonstrated deftness with their feet.

Although Onuachu has proven to be a prolific goalscorer, the lack of crosses—especially given the current shortage of fullbacks—rendered him largely ineffective against South Africa.

With the squad unchanged ahead of the clash with Benin, it would be prudent for Finidi to select strikers who can be more involved in the play and provide dynamic runs against the Cheetahs.

A switch of formation

The Nigerian team were largely exposed, particularly in the first half of the clash against South Africa, due to the formation employed by Finidi.

The 53-year-old coach opted for a highly fluid formation, but there were palpable lapses as many players struggled to understand their roles.

Given the crucial nature of the upcoming match, it would be wise for Finidi to revert to the 3-5-2 approach that the Nigerian team is more accustomed to, ensuring a solid performance and securing the result. He can then gradually introduce the fluid formation he aims to implement in the team.

Select the best starting XI

One criticism Finidi faced after the clash against South Africa was the calibre of players he chose to field.

The former Enyimba manager opted for Kelechi Iheanacho, who had played barely 80 minutes of football in the last four months, over other players who had been seeing regular action with their club sides.

Finidi also chose Paul Onuachu, who had only recently recovered from a broken foot, ahead of forwards with consistent game time.

While the inclusion of these players might not be the sole reason the Super Eagles failed to defeat Bafana Bafana, it is clear that there was a noticeable change in the team's attacking approach when both players were substituted.

Given the importance of the upcoming fixture against Benin, Finidi's best course of action would be to field the best available players to maximise their chances of success.

Iwobi declares war on Benin Republic

Sports Brief in another report stated midfielder of the Nigeria team, Alex Iwobi, has declared war on Benin Republic in the lead-up to both teams’ clash.

The 28-year-old took to social media to stress his team’s intention after meeting up with former coach, Gernot Rohr.

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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).