2026 World Cup qualifier: Okocha warns Super Eagles ahead of South Africa clash

Okocha memorable goal psg

Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, has warned the current players as they prepare for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Nigeria are in Group C alongside South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Benin and Rwanda.

Okocha who featured at the World Cups with the Eagles also said the three time African champions who have reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup finals on three occasions must take their chances during their qualifying games.

The former PSG player who was among the legends that graced the draw in Abidjan said,”Aside the Eagles, Bafana are about the strongest team in that group and we (Eagles) must be very careful when we play them,” Okocha was quoted as saying.

“We have not had it easy against them recently.

“Morocco showed that an African country could win the World Cup. We must follow the example of Morocco,” he said.

The Atlas Lions of Morocco surprisingly reached the semi-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar beating countries like Spain and Portugal along the way.

There are six teams in each of the nine groups, with only the group winners guaranteed slots at the expanded FIFA World Cup finals in the summer of 2026.

The best four second-placed teams in the nine groups will then contest a mini-tournament, with the winner eligible for a playoff spot for another slot in USA/Canada/Mexico finals.

Each of the teams will play two of their 10 matches in the campaign in the FIFA window of November this year, with the other eight games to be spread between 2024 and 2025.

The form book suggests that South Africa’s ticket to the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be decided by a straight shoot-out between Bafana Bafana and Nigeria’s Super Eagles.

After the Confederation of African Football (CAF) completed the African qualifiers draw for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Ivory Coast on Thursday evening, South Africa was drawn alongside Nigeria in Group C.

The Group C winner will join the eight other group winners who will embark on the qualifying tournament for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, set to be staged across Canada, Mexico and the United States.

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