Finish Explains Decision Not to Use Boniface Against South Africa


Nigeria’s head coach, Finidi George, has explained his decision not to field Victor Boniface in Friday night’s match against South Africa.

Despite considering the promising striker for inclusion from the bench, Finidi stated that the circumstances on the field prompted a change in 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,” in a post-match interview on Friday, Finidi acknowledged a tactical shift led to Boniface’s exclusion from the match.

The coach reassured 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 said.

Addressing criticism and demands regarding player selections, Finidi emphasized 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 stated.

On Friday, the Super Eagles played to a 1-1 draw against South Africa’s Bafana Badana in the third round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Themba Zwane opened the scoring for South Africa in the 28th minute at the Godzilla Okpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Nigeria’s Fisayo Dele-Bashiru equalized with a superb low shot to the edge of the post in the 46th minute.

The match ended in a stalemate, leaving Nigeria in fifth place out of six teams after three matches in the 10-match competition ? With three draws.

The group winner will qualify for the 2026 World z cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States, while the four best-ranked runners-up will go into play-offs. The winners of these play-offs will enter an inter-continental tournament where six nations will compete for two spots.

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

The Super Eagles will travel to Abidjan to face third-placed Benin on June 10.

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