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Bashiru, Ajayi in race to be fit for Benin Republic clash

Bashiru, Ajayi in race to be fit for Benin Republic clash

Super Eagles duo Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and defender Semi Ajayi face a race to be fit for next Monday’s 2026 World Cup qualifier against Benin Republic in Abidjan, Ivory Coast after injuries forced them out of the encounter last Friday against South Africa in Uyo.

Super Eagles coach Finidi George revealed that the pair will be assessed ahead of the game.

The three-time African champions were held to a 1-1 draw by South Africa in a 2026 World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo.

Turkey-based midfielder Dele-Bashiru had capped his official international debut, grabbing the equaliser against South Africa just 36 seconds into the second half after Themba Zwane shot the Bafana Bafana into the lead after 29 minutes in the first half.

However, injury forced Dele-Bashiru to be replaced by Alhassan Yusuf in the 61st minute.

“The medical staff will observe him (Dele-Bashiru), we will check his reaction,” George said.

Defender Ajayi is the team’s other injury concern after he asked to be substituted when he suffered a knock during the game.

“We wanted to introduce Victor Boniface and Terem Moffi, but Semi Ajayi had a knock, and we had to take him off and introduce Moffi and Onyedika.

“We will monitor him ahead of our next game.”

Ahead of matchday four fixtures, Lesotho are the group’s new leaders after they outscored Zimbabwe on Friday. Rwanda are second on four points, ahead of Benin by a better goal difference.

Nigeria remain without a victory following their 1-1 draw with South Africa – will face Benin Republic next Monday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. South Africa is fourth with four points, while Nigeria are fifth, having recorded three points, with Zimbabwe bottom on two points.

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