2026 World Cup Qualifiers: Nigeria’s Tella pulls out of South Africa & Benin matches

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Bayer Leverkusen forward Nathan Tella is the latest name to pull out of Nigeria’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin Republic in June.

The 24-year-old will miss next month’s qualifiers due to family-related matters, making him the second player to withdraw from the squad after Napoli forward Victor Osimhen.

Tella has been replaced by Turkey-based forward Ibrahim Olawoyin, who plays for Super Lig club Caykur Rizespor.

The former Southampton forward, who was part of the record-breaking Leverkusen team that won the club’s first-ever Bundesliga title and second DFB-Pokal trophy, finished with seven goals and six assists this season.

Olawoyin, on the other hand, a former Enugu Rangers forward, finished the 2023-24 campaign with eight goals and four assists in 38 matches in Turkey.

The Super Eagles are third in Group C of their African qualifiers and will face South Africa on at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, on Friday, June 7.

The three-time African champions side will then travel to Ivory Coast three days later to take on Benin Republic, led by former coach Gernot Rohr at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan.


You can watch all of the Super Eagles’ games in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers against South Africa (June 7) and Benin Republic (June 10) LIVE on Afrosport. 

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