Sports

2026 World Cup qualifiers: Top five Super Eagles stars to count on against South Africa

Following draws against Rwanda and Lesotho, the Super Eagles of Nigeria return to action against South Africa tomorrow to continue their journey en route to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Ahead of their clash against Bafana Bafana, Soccernet.ng takes a look at five of Finidi George’s men that could make the difference in tomorrow’s highly anticipated match.

1. Stanley Nwabali

The Chippa United goalkeeper plies his trade in the South African league, like the majority of Hugo Broos’ men, meaning he has information on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the South African individuals.

Stanley Nwabali in action for the Super Eagles at the AFCON 2023 tournament.

Nwabali was brilliant when Nigeria claimed victory over Bafana Bafana in Ivory Coast, denying them twice from twelve yards, and his presence alone will be intimidating to the opponents.

2. Calvin Bassey

The Super Eagles will be without William Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo. This means the Fulham versatile defender will be tasked with the responsibility of leading from the back and protecting Nwabali’s goal.

Calvin Bassey in action for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

3. Wilfred Ndidi

The Leicester City midfielder was absent from Nigeria’s AFCON 2023 campaign due to a muscle injury. His return reinstates stability to the Super Eagles midfield, and team chemistry, as he’s one of the team leaders.

Ndidi playing for Nigeria at the 2019 AFCON tournament.

His anchoring skills will be important to break up the South African attack, alongside aiding Nigeria’s ball-carrying from midfield into attack.

4. Victor Okoh Boniface

The former Union Saint-Gilloise striker won a double with Bayer 04 Leverkusen, helping Die Werkself to a 51-game unbeaten run across all competitions in Europe this season.

Boniface in action for Nigeria.

Boniface scored 21 goals and provided 10 assists for the Bundesliga Champions, and in the absence of Victor Osimhen, the heavyweight of the goalscoring lies on the Bundesliga Rookie of the Year award winner.

5. Ademola Lookman

Ademola Lookman scored a hat-trick in the final of the UEFA Europa League to win Atalanta’s first-ever European Championship, etching his name into the history books of the Italian side.

Ademola Lookman vs Cameroon at the AFCON 2023 round of 16 clash.

The former Everton forward was a revelation for the Super Eagles at the AFCON 2023 tournament, scoring three goals. If there’s any player that can take the big game by the scruff of its neck, it’s Lookman, as he’ll be looking forward to stamping his presence on tomorrow’s game.