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NFF rebukes Benin Republic over wrong national anthem



THE Nigeria Football Federation has expressed dissatisfaction with the Beninoise Football Federation for playing the old Nigerian national anthem before yesterday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Abidjan.

‘Arise O’ compatriots’, which was recently changed back to the old ‘Nigeria we hail thee’, was played before kick-off at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, and the NFF was clearly not impressed.

The Super Eagles went on to sustain an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Benin Republic, but the NFF was more concerned about the anthem.

NFF’s Head of International Competitions, Dayo Enebi Achor, said the organisation handed a recording of the new national anthem of Nigeria to the Benin FA authorities at the Match Coordination Meeting in Abidjan on Sunday evening.

“We gave them the recording of our new national anthem, only for them to play the wrong one at the beginning of the match. We protested strongly, and insisted that the Super Eagles would not start the second half until the new national anthem of Nigeria was played,” he said.

The Benin FA authorities eventually played the new national anthem of Nigeria before the commencement of the second half of the match.

New national anthem or not, the Super Eagles are now in real danger of missing out on two consecutive World Cups for the first time since their debut at the global tournament in 1994.

The Super Eagles are yet to win a single match in African qualifying Group C, drawing three against Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa and losing one to Benin Republic, all of whom are ranked much lower than Nigeria by FIFA.

With Nigeria fifth out of the six teams and four points behind leaders Benin Republic, Finidi George’s side would have to win all of their remaining six matches in order to earn the only guaranteed World Cup ticket available to the group.



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