• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

2026 WCQ: Finidi George opens up on costly mistake against South Africa


Jun 8, 2024

By Sharon Ekhiwere

After recording a third consecutive draw in the first three matches of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers, the head coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Coach Finidi George blamed the inability of his team to get all three points on his team’s sloppy start to the game against South Africa on Friday evening, platinumnewsng is reporting.

After conceding a 28th-minute goal to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Friday night, and then rallying back into the game, recording a 46th-minute equalizer off the boot of Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, the super eagles failed to add any other goal, playing out a 1-1 draw against the South Africans.

The Super Eagles gaffer has thrown the blame on his team’s poor start, claiming that if the first-half performance was as good as the second-half’s, his team would have sealed victory.

He highlighted the several opportunities and chances created by the Eagles in the second half and rued the missed chances. In his words:

“I think we entered the game a little bit sloppy. In the first half, we didn’t create much but I think in the second half, immediately we scored that goal, we took over the game. They had a couple of moments that they threatened a little bit but it wasn’t really clear, I think we had all the shots, and all the chances to have won it, on overall I think it was not a bad second half from the Nigerian side. Though I thought in the first half we should have started better or entered the game a little bit quicker, it didn’t happen so we conceded that goal but I think the players reacted so well in the second half.”

“It’s not the best result we wanted but a draw is better than losing. We’ll get our heads up and see how we can win the next match. You get three possible results in football – a draw, a win or a loss. Today we got a draw when we needed to win, we are not happy about the point but the performance in the second half was outstanding.”

When quizzed about the importance of VAR in African World Cup qualifiers, seeing some possible situations where VAR decisions were needed, the former Nigerian winger stated the importance of the qualifiers, saying that VAR would help improve things, he also went onbto mention that VAR could have possibly changed the outcome of the game against South Africa especially with the Chukwueze’s shot that wasn’t clear enough and the penalty call after Dele-Bashiru appeared to have been fouled in the penalty area.

The Super Eagles after this result now have 3 points after 3 games, a place behind the Bafana Bafana team, in Group C of the CAF 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. They sit in 5th position currently and will be in Cotediviore to play against the Cheetahs of Benin Republic on Monday.

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