W/ Cup qualifiers: Egbe urges Finidi not to overlook Benin Republic

Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Monimichellie Sports Facility Construction Limited, Chief Ebi Egbe has advised newly appointed Super Eagles gaffer, Finidi George not to be concerned only about Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the forthcoming world cup qualifiers but to also think of how to tame Cheetahs of Benin Republic whom he believes could as well be a difficult opponent to handle.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will on June, 7 take on South Africa at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and three days later, confront Benin Republic on June 10 at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Speaking on the qualifiers, the renowned stadium facility expert noted that while it’s true that South Africa is considered as one of the power houses of African football but the boys from Cotonou will not be giving anything to chance as they’re also hungry to be at the Mundial.

According to him, although Nigeria might be familiar with the pitch in Abidjan where they played the finals of AFCON 2023 but was quick to add that the pitch might not be the same again since those pitches were constructed specifically for the AFCON tournament.

The Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium pitch in Abidjan is actually a tournament pitch that will find it difficult to outlive the Cocan 2024 in cote d’ivoire

” As the world Cup qualifiers approaches, I would like Finidi George not to concentrate all his efforts on South Africa but to also map out strategies on how to beat Benin Republic whom I think their football is fast improving.

” The coach should also realize that the fact they’re playing in Abidjan at a familiar pitch in which they lost the AFCON finals to the host country does not mean much because from the professional point of view, that pitch is an Energy sapping natural grass pitch that does not support speed football, the pitch might not be the same again considering that in Africa what we have are football pitches that do not outlive tournaments. We don’t have sustainable pitches, “he stressed.

The AFCON could have been an opportunity to construct sustainable elite pitches that aid speed football in Africa, but unfortunately, the opposite is what we get.

On the clamour for some home based players to be included in the squad, Egbe noted that it’s too early for him to invite NPFL players to his squad; saying that their invitation should come later.

” I’m aware that a lot of Nigerians want to see one or two home based players making the final list of the team but the truth of the matter is that it’s too early for Finidi to invite them. This, to me, should come later during the FIFA friendly window for him to have a proper assessment of their form and all of that.”

The biggest challenge Coach Finidi is going to face is not having an elite pitch for his elite players to train on.

It’s about time Nigeria invested on, even if it’s just one elite pitch with a hydroponic system to support our elite players and coaches.

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