Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George Explains Why Boniface Didn’t Play Against South Africa

Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George Explains Why Boniface Didn’t Play Against South Africa

Super Eagles of Nigeria head coach, Finidi George, has revealed that on-field development forced him not to play Bayer Leverkusen’s prolific striker, Victor Boniface, against South Africa.

Most football enthusiasts were shocked to see that coach Finidi George excluded one of Nigeria’s best players in Europe last season, Victor Boniface, from his starting lineup even though the team’s talisman, Victor Osimhen, wasn’t in the squad.

The coach decided to start Paul Onuachu, who is currently on loan at Turkish club, Trabzonspor from Championship side, Southampton, ahead of Boniface.

The first half of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium ended 1-0 in favour of South Africa. The Super Eagles came back into the game in the first minute of the first half through the boots of Fisayo Dele-Bashiru.

Afterwards, Onuachu failed to do much in the game, forcing coach Finidi George to bring on Terem Moffi to replace him instead of Boniface, as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

After the match, reporters asked coach Finidi why he decided to leave out the 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen forward, and he said it was because the team needed to bring in a midfielder for unfit Semi Ajayi.

“We thought about bringing him in, he was supposed to come in, but when we had Ajayi complain that he couldn’t continue, we had to reverse that,” Finidi told reporters on Friday.

Finidi George, who will lead the Super Eagles to take on Benin Republic in Abidjan on June 10, noted that Boniface will have his chance to play.

“We have another game definitely if he’s up and doing he’s going to play,” he said.

The coach added, “For me, it’s what you can give to me on the field of play. Everybody wants this player 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.”

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