Super Eagles' opponents revealed for FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers
All opponents the Super Eagles of Nigeria would face in the qualifiers ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup have been confirmed.
Following the conclusion of the draws for the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers for Africa today, Thursday, July 13, 2023, the opponents for the Super Eagles of Nigeria has been confirmed in an official announcement.
The qualifiers would see Nigeria face five countries in the group stages of the qualifiers. These countries include South Africa, Benin Republic, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Lesotho.
The qualifying round is a new format introduced by the football governing body for Africa, CAF. The new system was introduced following FIFA's allocation of more tickets for Africa after the impressive run of Morocco at the 2022 world cup in Qatar.
In May 2023, the CAF Executive Committee approved a new format for the 54 Member Associations. The format divides the teams into nine groups, each consisting of six teams. Matches will be played in a round-robin format within the groups. Following Match Day 10, the top team from each group will automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Furthermore, the top four second-place teams from each group will participate in a Continental play-off. The victor of this play-off will proceed to a final play-off, where they will face off against teams from other confederations for one of the last two World Cup positions. This structure is intended to ensure that Africa has an equitable opportunity to obtain more World Cup berths and enhance its representation to a total of 48 teams.
The qualifiers for the World Cup will start in November of this year, followed by match days in June 2024 and October 2025. The Continental play-off will take place in November 2025, featuring the top four second-placed teams, and the venue for this play-off will be announced at a later time. In March 2026, the FIFA Play-off tournament will decide the final teams that will participate in the World Cup.