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NFF Criticises Benin Rep FA for Playing Wrong Anthem

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)

Following Nigeria’s 2-1 defeat in Benin Republic during 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 ahead of the match.

The wrong anthem sparked reactions across Nigeria as the players sang along to the old national anthem, which rang around the Felix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan.

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

In 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.

Many Nigerians have also expressed displeasure over the mix-up in the recital.

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 by a military government.

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