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Updated: Why I benched Victor Boniface – Finidi George

“He (Boniface) was supposed to come in, but when we heard Ajayi complain that he had a knock, he couldn't continue. So we had to reverse that substitution

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Coach Finidi George clarified that Victor Boniface sat on the bench for the entirety of Nigeria’s match against South Africa due to the substitution of injured defender Semi Ajayi.

Despite Nigeria’s lack of firepower in the final third to secure all three points, fans found hope when they saw Victor Boniface, who had scored 30 goals in all competitions for the undefeated German Bundesliga champions, Bayer Leverkusen, warming up before returning to the bench as an unused sub in the game.

At the post-match press conference, Finidi said: “He (Boniface) was supposed to come in, but when we heard Ajayi complain that he had a knock, he couldn’t continue. So we had to reverse that substitution.”

Persecondnews reports that the former Enyimba gaffer promised that the 23-year-old would get his chance in the next game against Benin Republic before asking the media to allow them to do their job.

“For me, it is what you can give me on the field. Everyone wants this or that player to play, but at the end of the day, if the player is not performing, you guys will still be shouting, ‘Take him off.

“So, let us do our job. We know who is good to go; we have another game, so definitely we’ll see how we can play these guys,” Persecondnews quotes Finidi as saying.

Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and has managed just three points from a possible nine in their opening three qualifiers for the 2026 tournament.

With the Super Eagles 1-1 draw with Bafana Bafana of South Africa, Lesotho topped Group C with five points, with Rwanda, Benin Republic, and South Africa on four points each.

With three points from three matches, Nigeria’s Super Eagles are fifth on the log.

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