• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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2026 World Cup: Ebi rallies Nigerians for Super Eagles

Former Super Falcons captain Onome Ebi has spoken in defence of the Super Eagles following criticism of poor displays in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria played a 1-1 draw against Lesotho and were held to another 1-1 draw by Zimbabwe in the 2026 FIFA World Cup African qualifying series Day, putting their chances of playing at the tournament in doubt.

The 40–year–old Naija Ratels defender is one of the oldest women to have featured at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and took to her social media account to drum up support for the Super Eagles, noting players give their best playing for the national team.

“They are gradually killing the beautiful game in my country with so much negativity,” Ebi said on her Instagram account.

“Football is supposed to be enjoyed, and players giving all to make the country proud are supposed to be encouraged and supported.

“It’s really sad to know that we have the best players in the world, but it is difficult to win games convincingly. It is really sad.”

Read also 2026 World Cup Qualifier: Iheanacho goal rescues point for Super Eagles against Zimbabwe

The former Bayelsa Queens defender urged Nigerian fans to support the Super Eagles rather than destructive criticism.

“We need that full support and enough of all this calling out players, insulting, and discouraging them after a bad game. Players go through a lot after all this, please lovers of football we can do better to help each other,” Ebi added.

“Truly, some people don’t understand how it feels to lose a game or play below expectations. Some players never recover from it. Some experienced players are strong enough to encourage the rest. Some go off playing for some time to recover. Football is not just about playing on the field.

“It’s beyond. You wonder why players always ask the fans for their support and why it is because it goes a long way to motivate and encourage the players. Please, let’s change our ways toward football players. It’s destroying the beauty of the game.”

On Tuesday, Rwanda recorded a 2-0 over South Africa to move top of Group C standings with four points from two matches. South Africa is second with three points, and Nigeria sits third with two points from two matches.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resume in June 2024, with Nigeria hosting South Africa before travelling to an away game against Benin Republic.