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Finidi defends decision not to play Boniface against South Africa

Finidi defends decision not to play Boniface against South Africa

Super Eagles coach Finidi George has defended his decision not to introduce striker Victor Boniface against South Africa on Friday.

The team played a 1-1 draw against the Bafana Bafana in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers which was Finidi’s first competitive game as Eagles coach at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

Despite calls from fans present at the stadium to bring on the in-form Bayer Leverkusen forward, George opted to introduce Terem Moffi and Raphael Onyedika as substitutes instead.

When questioned about his decision, George made it clear that he will not be swayed by external pressure, insisting that the coaching staff should be trusted to make the right calls.

“Allow us to do our jobs,” Finidi stated. “We wanted to introduce Boniface and Moffi, but Semi (Ajayi) had a knock, and we had to take him off and introduce Moffi and Onyedika. The fans and media would shout for different players, if they don’t perform well, the shout will be, take him off. Allow us to do our jobs.”

Finidi acknowledged that his team missed chances in the game, saying, “We missed chances, overall it was not a bad second half for us.”

He also dismissed the notion that outsiders have a better perspective on when to make substitutions, saying, “No one will tell me when to make changes, the crowd can be shouting. Everyone is a coach, when you stand outside you see, but when you sit there you don’t see anything.”

Addressing the specific decision to keep Paul Onuachu on the pitch, George added, “Onuachu stayed longer in the game, it was our decision, that should not bother anyone.”

As a result of the draw, the Eagles remain fifth in group with three points from three games.

They play Benin Republic who are coached by former Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Monday.

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