Home Sports Football Our first target is to qualify for 2026 World Cup, new Super Eagles coach Finidi says

Our first target is to qualify for 2026 World Cup, new Super Eagles coach Finidi says

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Newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George has set his sights firmly on securing qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, demanding unwavering commitment from his top players as the team aims to get their faltering qualifying campaign back on track.

Unveiled to the media in Abuja on Monday, George, who succeeded the outgoing Portuguese coach José Peseiro, wasted no time in laying out his immediate priorities – two crucial 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin 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”, George told reporters on Monday.

Recognising the importance of a strong start, the former Ajax winger emphasised the significance of the upcoming clash 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”, he said.

Nigeria currently finds itself in third place in their qualifying group, with just two points from as many games, while South Africa sits second with three points.

The three-time African champions will host South Africa in Uyo on 7 June, before travelling to Abidjan to face bottom-team Benin three days later.

George, who has signed a year’s contract with an option for an additional year, acknowledged the immense pressure that comes with leading the national team of a country with 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 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”? George asked.

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