Super Eagles suffer 2026 World Cup setback

Lose to Benin Republic in Ivory Coast

Nigeria’s 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign suffered another setback as they lost to Benin, while Jordan Ayew marked his 100th cap with a hat-trick to inspire a 4-3 Ghana victory over Central African Republic.

The Super Eagles have just three points from four matches in Group C after Benin came from behind to win 2-1, with coach Gernot Rohr inflicting defeat on his former employers.

Nigeria had drawn their first three games in Group C, which has already provided several surprise results and left minnows Lesotho top after three games.

Raphael Onyedika’s composed 27th-minute strike put the Super Eagles ahead in their away game against Benin in neutral Ivory Coast, but the three-time continental champions were behind before the break.

First Jodel Dossou caught Calvin Bassey napping and curled across goal to equalise, and then ex-Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie smashed in at the back post after Nigeria failed to deal with a corner from the right.

Nigeria’s best chance to level came when an unmarked Ademola Lookman headed wide, with striker Paul Onuachu arguably better placed to meet the cross.

Rohr, who had been sacked by Nigeria before the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, was carried on to the pitch by substitutes as Benin celebrated just their second-ever win over their West African neighbours.

Benin climb to the top of Group C on seven points while Nigeria are fifth, increasing the pressure on Finidi George

The nine group winners at the end of the 10-game campaign will all seal spots at the expanded 2026 World Cup, while a 10th African side could reach the finals in the United States, Mexico and Canada via an intercontinental tournament.

The fourth round of matches culminates on Tuesday, after which the qualifiers will resume again in March 2025.

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