• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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NFF fumes as Super Eagles recite old national anthem before Benin match

Super-Eagles (2)

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has expressed its anger over the mix-up by the Benin Republic Football Federation, which resulted in the playing of the old Nigerian national anthem before Monday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Abidjan.

In the fourth round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the Super Eagles of Nigeria recited the former anthem, “Arise O Compatriots,” instead of the newly reinstated “Nigeria We Hail Thee.”

Observations by a PUNCH reporter confirmed that the players sang the outdated anthem at the start of the match.

President Bola Tinubu signed the National Anthem Bill 2024 into law on May 29, reinstating the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.” This change was announced by Senate President Godswill Akpabio during a joint plenary attended by Tinubu.

The bill’s passage marked a shift from the previously recognized anthem, “Arise O Compatriots,” and was swiftly approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

NFF’s Head of International Competitions, Dayo Enebi Achor, stated that the NFF had provided a recording of the new national anthem to the Benin Republic FA authorities during the Match Coordination Meeting in Abidjan on Sunday evening.

“We gave them the recording of our new national anthem, only for them to play the wrong one at the beginning of the match. We protested strongly and insisted that the Super Eagles would not start the second half until the new national anthem of Nigeria was played,” Achor said.

The Benin FA authorities eventually played the correct national anthem of Nigeria before the commencement of the second half of the match.