Real Reason I Benched Boniface Against South Africa – Finidi

The Head coach of the Super Eagles team of Nigeria, Finidi George, has opened up on how he arrived at his decision not to field Victor Boniface in Friday night’s encounter against South Africa.

Despite the potential inclusion of the promising striker from the bench, Finidi explained that the circumstances on the field prompted a change of plans.

“We thought about bringing him in, he was supposed to come in, but when we had Ajayi complain that he couldn’t continue, we had to reverse that,” Finidi acknowledged in a post-match interview.

The coach noted a tactical shift, ultimately leading to Boniface’s exclusion from the match.

However, Finidi was quick to reassure fans that the talented forward’s opportunity may still come. “We have another game definitely if he’s up and doing he’s going to play,” he stated.

Read Also: Leverkusen Eyeing Victor Boniface For 2nd-Highest Move

Addressing the criticism and demands from some quarters regarding player selections, Finidi emphasised the importance of on-field performance over external pressures.

“For me, it’s what you can give to me on the field of play. Everybody wants this player or that player to play, but at the end of the day, if the player is not performing, you guys will still be shouting take him off, so let us do our job. We know who is good to go,” Finidi declared.

On Friday, the Super Eagles played a 1-1 draw against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the third round of the 2026 World Cup qualifier.

Themba Zwane of South Africa opened the scoresheet in the 29th minute of the match played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Equalising after a superb turn, Nigeria’s Fisayo Dele-Bashiru slotted in a low shot to the edge of the post in the 46th minute.

The match ended at a stalemate, however.

The results mean that Nigeria is placed fifth in a table of six teams after three matches in the 10-match competition.

Nigeria, in three matches, has drawn all three.

The group winners will qualify for 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico and United States; four best-ranked runners-up go into play-offs and winners enter an inter-continental tournament where six nations will compete for two places.

Meanwhile, the game marked Finidi’s first game as Super Eagles coach.

Africa Today News, New York

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