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Finidi Aims To Qualify Super Eagles For 2026 World Cup

Acknowledging the crucial nature of a robust beginning, the ex-Ajax winger underscored the importance of the imminent match against South Africa.

By Paul Tuama

The recently appointed coach of the Super Eagles, Finidi George, is determined to ensure qualification for the 2026 World Cup. He stated the need for dedication from his key players as the team works to rectify their stumbling qualifying campaign.

Introduced to the press in Abuja on Monday, Finidi, taking over from the departing Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro, promptly outlined his primary focus: the upcoming vital 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin in early next month.

“Nigeria comes first, that’s what I expect from every player I invite. You have to be playing in your club, and you must have the commitment,” Finidi told reporters on Monday.

Acknowledging the crucial nature of a robust beginning, the ex-Ajax winger underscored the importance of the imminent match against South Africa.

“The first targets are to qualify for the World Cup and AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations), and a win over South Africa will set the tone.”

As of now, Nigeria occupies the third position in their qualifying group, having secured just two points from two matches, while South Africa holds the second spot with three points. The three-time African champions are scheduled to play against South Africa in Uyo on June 7, followed by an away match against bottom-placed Benin in Abidjan three days later.

Finidi, who has committed to a one-year contract with the possibility of extending it, recognized the immense pressure associated with coaching the national team of a country with a population of over 200 million people.

However, he exuded confidence in his ability to withstand the scrutiny, stating, “I have a tough skin.”

While his salary remains undisclosed, the 53-year-old coach expressed a willingness to prioritise performance over immediate financial rewards.

“The salary is good enough for me, it’s not as much as that of (Jose) Peseiro. 

“Money is good, but if you add value to what you do, the money will come. Then they can come and ask ‘Coach, how much do you want?” Finidi said.

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