2026 World Cup Qualifiers: Benin boss Rohr critical of Super Eagles mentality after historic win

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Gernot Rohr, head coach of Benin, has been critical of the mentality of the Super Eagles players following the Cheetahs historic 2-1 win over Nigeria in the African qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Monday.

The 70-year-old German, who was in charge of the Super Eagles from 2016–2021, led Benin to their first win over Nigeria at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

After the match, Rohr praised his team for their compactness and organisation throughout the contest but questioned the mentality of the Nigerian team, implying that they felt complacent after going ahead.

“We had the right organization,” Rohr said. “Nigeria scored the first goal; perhaps they believed it was already done. But the reaction and the desire of my team were so strong that they could come back to win the match.

The Finidi George-led Super Eagles headed into the match with three straight draws, but they were hoping that a win against the lowly ranked Cheetahs would help them kickstart their journey in the World Cup qualifiers.

It seemed as if it would be their day as they got the lead in the 27th minute through Club Brugge midfielder Raphael Onyedika. However, Benin replied almost immediately through Jodel Dossou, who, despite pulling his side level in the 37th minute, was eventually subbed off as a result of an injury he picked up while trying to strike the ball.

To the amazement of many, Brest forward Steve Mounie completed the comeback for Benin in first-half stoppage time with his second strike in the qualifiers.

The Super Eagles kept on fighting to get the equaliser, but they faltered as Benin’s backline proved too resilient to be broken down.

The defeat put Nigeria in a dire position, as they remain fifth in Group C after a loss and three draws, and their hopes of making a return to the grand stage of the World Cup look bleak, while Benin surprisingly sits atop the group with seven points from two wins, a draw, and a loss.

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