Benin Republic vs Nigeria: Key Errors Finidi Made in Super Eagles’ Loss to Gernot Rohr’s Cheetahs

Benin Republic vs Nigeria: Key Errors Finidi Made in Super Eagles’ Loss to Gernot Rohr’s Cheetahs

Ero Samson
updated at June 11, 2024 at 6:33 AM
In this article:
Nigeria logo
Benin logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
Wilfred Ndidi logo
W. Ndidi
Leicester City logoMNigeria logo
Calvin Bassey logo
Fulham logoDNigeria logo
Steve Mounié logo
S. Mounié
Stade Brestois 29 logoFBenin logo
Jodel Dossou logo
J. Dossou
MBenin logo
Raphael Onyedika Nwadike logo
R. O. Nwadike
Club Brugge logoMNigeria logo
Zimbabwe logo
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria locked horns with the Benin Republic in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification fixture
  • The Nigerian team suffered defeat in the crucial fixtures courtesy of goals from Josel Dossou and Steve Mounie
  • Sports Brief has looked at the key elements Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, got wrong in the tie against Benin

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria continued their lacklustre run in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series with a defeat against the Republic of Benin on June 10.

This pivotal fixture, which was seen as a crucial opportunity to revive a faltering quest to qualify for the showpiece event in the Americas, left many Super Eagles fans deeply disappointed.

Nigeria started the match brightly, launching a series of attacks against the Cheetahs' defence that culminated in a goal by midfielder, Raphael Onyedika, in the 27th minute.

Finidi George, Super Eagles, NFF, Nigeria, South Africa, Benin Republic, FIFA World Cup, CAF, AFCON, Gernot Rohr
Finidi George's Super Eagles fell to a defeat in their 2026 FIFA qualification clash against the Republic of Benin on June 10, 2024. Image: @NFF.
Source: Twitter

However, the joy was short-lived after a series of mistakes by Wilfred Ndidi and Calvin Bassey allowed Jodel Dossou to equalise 10 minutes later.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finalists found their woes compounded when they failed to defend a set piece, giving Steve Mounie the chance to score Benin’s second goal and secure a half-time lead for the Cheetahs.

Despite a hopeful start to the second half, the Super Eagles' performance remained unimpressive, leading to their second competitive defeat since the 2023 AFCON final.

This loss has sparked considerable debate among fans about the Nigerian Football Federation's (NFF) decision to appoint Finidi George as coach.

The 53-year-old remains a polarising figure among Nigerian supporters. In light of this, Sports Brief highlights the notable errors the Super Eagles' gaffer made in the clash against Benin.

Key errors Finidi made in Nigeria's clash against Benin

Fluid formation is still a major problem

The Super Eagles coach continued with the highly fluid approach that had previously left his side vulnerable against South Africa.

Finidi opted for a 4-3-3 system, though without clear positional discipline from the players. While this setup allowed the Nigerian team to easily attack their opponents, it left them largely exposed at the back due to the excessive freedom granted to players moving forward.

The key difference between the match against South Africa and the defeat to the Benin Republic was that the Cheetahs were more intentional and clinical in front of goal compared to Bafana Bafana.

There is a lack of intensity

There was also a noticeable lack of intensity among the Super Eagles players. While Nigeria dominated possession, it was evident that the Beninese team was far superior in duels throughout the match.

It came as little surprise when they equalised from one such situation, as Ndidi and Bassey both lost a duel that allowed Dossou to score in the 37th minute.

Set pieces are poorly organised

Another error that was evident from Coach Finidi’s tactics was his side’s manner and approach to defending set pieces. The Benin Republic team appeared primarily superior to the Super Eagles whenever a set piece was awarded to either team, and it comes as little surprise that their winning goal on the night came from a set piece.

Substitutes lacked any real impact

Finidi capped off what many Nigerians will remember as a disastrous performance with ineffective substitutions during the match. The 53-year-old’s numerous substitutions were surprising and had little to no impact on the game.

The Nigerian team currently sits fifth in the Group C standings and could drop to last place if Zimbabwe defeats South Africa in their next fixture.

Finidi’s mistake against South Africa

Sports Brief also previously reported on the key tactical errors Nigeria’s coach, Finidi, made against South Africa.

The Super Eagles put in a largely underwhelming shift against Bafana Bafana and eventually only salvaged a draw.

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).
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)