The Nigerian Super Eagles are set to clash with their Zimbabwean counterparts, the Warriors, at the Huye Stadium in Butare on Sunday. This crucial encounter comes after the Super Eagles’ disappointing 1-1 draw against Lesotho in their opening match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying series.
The Super Eagles, three-time African champions, were forced to come from behind to salvage a point against minnows Lesotho, a result that has left them under immense pressure to secure all three points against Zimbabwe. With South Africa currently leading Group C following their 2-1 victory over Benin Republic, anything less than a win against Zimbabwe could derail the Super Eagles’ World Cup aspirations.
The task for the Super Eagles is further complicated by the bumpy artificial playing surface at the Huye Stadium, a stark contrast to the lush green turf they were accustomed to at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in their previous match. This unfamiliar terrain could pose a challenge for both teams, as the majority of their players are based abroad and not used to playing on artificial surfaces.
Another obstacle for the Super Eagles is the absence of Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi, who has been ruled out due to a groin injury sustained against Lesotho. This injury further depletes an already depleted squad, with Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, and Wilfred Ndidi also sidelined due to various ailments.
Despite these challenges, the Super Eagles remain determined to bounce back from their setback and reclaim their place atop Group C. The clash against Zimbabwe promises to be a fierce battle, with both teams desperate for a victory that could shape their World Cup qualifying campaign.