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Super Eagles set sights on World Cup qualifiers after friendly setbacks

The Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, are rallying after a recent friendly 0-1 defeat handed them by Mali, with defender Kenneth Omeruo expressing the squad’s resolve to secure maximum points in the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The team’s departure from Morocco follows mixed results in friendlies against Ghana and Mali, with the latter marking a rare loss.

Reflecting on the defeat, Omeruo stated, “We approached the Mali game with a winning mindset, akin to our attitude against Ghana. Unfortunately, football is unpredictable, and while they capitalised on their opportunities, we did not.” He further emphasised the importance of the June qualifiers, where Nigeria will face South Africa and Benin Republic, noting that “for many in our squad, the World Cup represents a significant milestone, and we are committed to not disappointing our nation.”

Currently, Nigeria stands third in Group C, tied with Lesotho and Zimbabwe, all trailing behind Rwanda and South Africa. The group’s top team will directly qualify for the World Cup, with a chance for one of the best second-placed teams to enter the FIFA Play-off tournament.

Interim coach Finidi George praised his team’s efforts despite the setback against Mali, highlighting the positives and the team’s control over other aspects of the game. “Mistakes were made, but the intensity and depth we showed are promising signs for the challenges ahead,” said George.


The Super Eagles’ journey towards the 2026 FIFA World Cup is a redemption arc, especially after missing the previous tournament in Qatar. With the qualifiers resuming in June, the team is focused on preparation and performance, aiming to secure their spot on football’s biggest stage.

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