NFF slams Benin Rep FA over wrong anthem

In the wake of Nigeria’s 2-1 loss against the Benin Republic in their fourth game of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Monday, the Nigeria Football Federation has lashed out at the Beninoise Football Federation for mixing up Nigeria’s national anthem before the kick-off of the match, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Before the Eagles were shocked by their neighbours, the team had sparked reactions across Nigeria as the players sang along to the old national anthem, which rang around the Felix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Benin Republic’s adopted home ground.

The new anthem was played during Nigeria’s previous game of the qualifying series against South Africa in Uyo last Friday.

According to a statement released by NFF’s Director of Media and Communications, Ademola Olajire, after the game, the NFF handed a recording of the new national anthem of Nigeria to the Benin FA authorities at 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,” Head of International Competitions, Dayo Enebi Achor said via the statement.

The statement added that the Benin FA authorities eventually played the new Nigerian national anthem before the commencement of the second half of the match.

Perhaps angered by the Eagles’ defeat, Nigerians also expressed displeasure over the mix-up.

“With that kind of confusion home and abroad, how can they concentrate and win,” a fan Nnamdi Daniel wrote on X.

Social media influencer, Daniel Regha, said, “Nigeria has more national anthem than goals per match, thank you Finidi George, but the NFF also shares in the blame. Up Super Eagles.”

Another fan, David Pine, stated, “As image makers of the country, this is totally wrong and unacceptable.”

President Bola Tinubu had signed the National Anthem Bill 2024, reinstating the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” into law, shifting from the usual “Arise, O Compatriots.”

The “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” anthem was used from 1960, when Nigeria gained independence until it was replaced by “Arise, O Compatriots” in 1978.

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