2026 World Cup Qualifiers: Remo Stars’ Ismail confident of Nigeria beating South Africa, Benin

2026 World Cup Qualifiers: Remo Stars’ Ismail confident of Nigeria beating South Africa, Benin

Remo Stars defender Sodiq Ismail, who recently received his first national team call-up, is confident the Super Eagles will come out victorious in their upcoming African qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Nigeria will be up against South Africa and Benin Republic in this month’s qualifiers, and Ismail, who is one of the three home-based players called up to the squad, says the team isn’t under any form of pressure.

“Well, we are not under any pressure because we are going to come out victorious in the two games,” the 20-year-old fullback said. “And what I am sure of is that we are going to get qualification for the World Cup.

Ismail, the assist king in the Nigeria Premier Football League, is both reliable defensively and offensively, having provided 13 assists in 31 league games this season, and the Remo Stars defender revealed he is ready to play if called upon.

“Well, I can’t say much about that because I didn’t expect this in the first place—to be called to the national team,” Ismail said when asked if his performance at club level should guarantee him a spot on the national team. “But while I’m here, I have to prove myself, and I have to make Nigerians proud.

On being a part of the starting XI, he added, “Yeah, I’m always ready. If they give me a chance to play, I’m going to prove myself.”

Ismail also added that he relishes being a part of the senior team set, as he has already learned a lot from the more established players and looks forward to learning more.

“Yeah, let me say it’s a privilege for me to be with the senior players, the European-based players, and I think I will be able to learn one or two things from them.”

“Their touches on the ball and the way they joke with themselves seem different from what I’ve experienced at club level,” he revealed.

The dazzling fullback is expected to don the national team colors for the first time when the Super Eagles battle South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on June 7 on matchday 3 of the Africa qualifiers.

Nigeria will then head to Abidjan to take on the Cheetahs of the Benin Republic three days later at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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