Benin’s national team coach, Gernot Rohr, has expressed his anticipation for the upcoming reunion with the Super Eagles as the two countries prepare to face each other during the qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The draw placed Nigeria and Benin in Group C alongside South Africa, Rwanda, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe.
Acknowledging Nigeria’s impressive record as three-time African champions and frequent participants in the World Cup, Rohr admits that they are the clear favorites in the group.
However, the contest gains further intrigue as South Africa, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe will engage in a Southern African derby, while Nigeria and Benin will create a West African derby.
“Benin fell into an extremely tough group, with obviously Nigeria as the favorite, a team we know quite well. But also the others, that is to say South Africa, already qualified for the next AFCON very early with a new state of mind,” the Franco-German technician explained, as per 24HauBenin.
“Of course, there is also Zimbabwe, which has a very strong physical team, and Rwanda, which we know quite well. And then there is also Lesotho, a country we are familiar with because Benin has played against them.
“It will be goals against South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho, which are geographically very close. As well as Nigeria and Benin, who are also neighbors. It’s really a group of people who know each other, making it an extremely technical and physical challenge.”
Before his dismissal in December 2021, Rohr was Nigeria’s longest-serving head coach.
Under his guidance, the Super Eagles secured a spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia and achieved a commendable third-place finish in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Rohr expressed his eagerness to lead the Benin team against Nigeria and reunite with his former Super Eagles players. He hopes that Benin can give their best performance against the three-time continental champions.
Rohr stated, “We hope that Benin can play a good role in this Group C, which is a very difficult and challenging group, but also very interesting.
“Personally, I will have reunions with players in the Super Eagles squad. We will be keen to give our maximum effort against this great footballing country.”
It is worth noting that Benin have never qualified for the World Cup and has yet to secure a victory against the Super Eagles in a competitive match.
However, with Gernot Rohr at the helm, the Squirrels will aim to overcome these challenges and make their mark in Group C.