Nigeria will on Sunday be looking to bounce back from their opening day draw against Lesotho when they take on Zimbabwe in their second match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Super Eagles were held to an uninspiring 1-1 draw by the lowly-ranked Lesotho in Uyo on Thursday, and they will need to get all three points against Zimbabwe to keep their hopes of qualification back on track.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will be looking to cause an upset as they can draw inspiration from the Crocodiles who were able to clip the Super Eagles’ wings despite the latter playing on home soil.
Just like the Super Eagles, the Warriors also secured a point in their opening match and they will be looking to build on that in Sunday’s outing even though they will be playing on a neutral turf in Rwanda.
After already missing out on the services of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, who is out with injury, the Super Eagles have been further depleted up front with the injury suffered by Taiwo Awoniyi.
Awoniyi did not travel with the rest of the squad as he has since returned to England where Nottingham Forest doctors will hope to get him back in shape as quickly as possible.
This development means Coach Peseiro will have to tweak his attacking set-up for the clash against the Warriors
Against Lesotho, it was Awoniyi and Victor Boniface who led the Eagles’ attack but the duo of Terem Moffi and Moses Simon impressed as substitutes.
Unlike Awoniyi, Boniface is expected to keep his shirt.
Simon could replace Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman on the left flank, leaving Moffi as a replacement for Awoniyi.
Kelechi Iheanacho, who captained the team and played well, is likely to start again in Butare.
One of the newest faces in the Super Eagles setup, Nathan Tella, could also be given a chance against the Warriors.
In the backline, despite his crucial equalizer against Lesotho, Semi Ajayi’s partnership with Calvin Bassey continues to concede goals, even against minnows.
Kenneth Omeruo’s experience could be valuable in this tricky tie against the Warriors.
Just like Lesotho, Nigeria enjoys a dominant record against Zimbabwe, winning four of their last seven meetings and drawing two.
Their only loss came over 40 years ago in an international friendly in August 1981.
In the qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Nigeria secured an emphatic 8-1 aggregate victory over Zimbabwe.