Zimbabwe vs Nigeria: Uzoho to start, Awoniyi out for Moffi in likely XI

Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho keeps his spot in goal against Zimbabwe|| Credit: Imago

Zimbabwe vs Nigeria: Uzoho to start, Awoniyi out for Moffi in likely XI

Kolawole Babatunde 17:47 - 18.11.2023

After a disappointing draw against Lesotho, Nigeria will travel to play Zimbabwe at the Huye Stadium in Rwanda in their second game of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

The absence of superstar forward Victor Osimhen seems to have affected Jose Peseiro’s side more than many imagined, and he has now been joined by Taiwo Awoniyi on the list of sidelined Super Eagles stars.

Super Eagles arriving to play Zimbabwe
the Super Eagles' delegation to the 2026 FIFA World Cup African qualification series Day 2 matchup versus the Warriors of Zimbabwe arrived in Rwanda, Zimbabwe's adopted country. X/Super Eagles

Match Preview 

Zimbabwe kicked off their 2026 World Cup qualification journey with a goalless draw against Rwanda at Butare's Huye Stadium.

This was an impressive result for the Warriors, who have only just emerged from a FIFA-imposed 18-month ban that saw them miss out on the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

A Zimbabwean and Rwandan player contesting for the ball in their goalless draw
Zimbabwe recorded an impressive 0-0 draw away against Rwanda to start their qualification campaign and now face the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The Southern Africans, ranked 125th in the latest FIFA World Rankings, have won just one of their last 15 games across all competitions, recording nine defeats and five draws.

Baltemar Brito's side, encouraged by Lesotho’s result, will now look to cause an upset against the Super Eagles on their adopted home ground in Rwanda.

Nigeria, on the other hand, are coming into this game looking to get their 2026 World Cup qualification journey back on track.

The Super Eagles fell behind to a Motlomelo Mkwanazi header in the 56th minute before Semi Ajayi restored parity in what was a disappointing result in front of their home fans in Uyo.

Semi Ajayi celebrating his goal against Lesotho
Ajayi has now taken to social media to celebrate his first goal for Nigeria on the international stage against Lesotho ahead of Zimbabwe.

Prior to the disappointing draw with Lesotho, Nigeria had recorded three competitive wins in a row and are currently on a run of six consecutive games without defeat across all competitions, picking up four wins and two draws.

The Super Eagles have dominated their meetings against the Warriors of Zimbabwe, picking up four wins, two draws, and just one loss in six games.

Both teams met during the 2006 World Cup qualifying series, with Nigeria recording an 8-1 aggregate win.

Zimbabwe vs Nigeria Team News 

Admiral Muskwe is a major doubt for Sunday’s clash after picking up an injury in the opening 30 minutes of the draw with Rwanda. Supersport United forward Terrence Dzvukamanja is expected to replace the injured striker should he fail to make the clash.

A back trio of Teenage Hadebe, Gerald Takwara, and Divine Lunga is expected to feature once more, while Luton Town's Marvelous Nakamba will be the anchor in the middle of the park.

Taiwo Awoniyi of Nigerian Super Eagles
The Super Eagles have now stated that Awoniyi will depart camp and will not play against Zimbabwe.

Taiwo Awoniyi has returned to Nottingham Forest after picking up an injury in the draw with Lesotho, as he joins Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze on the sidelines.

Terem Moffi is expected to replace Awoniyi in a two-man attack with Victor Boniface.

Bruno Onyemaechi and Moses Simon impressed after coming in for Jamilu Collins and Ademola Lookman, respectively, and are expected to return to the XI on Sunday.

Francis Uzoho looks set to keep his spot in between the sticks behind the center-back duo of Calvin Bassey and Semi Ajayi.

Zimbabwe vs Nigeria probable lineup 

Zimbabwe: Donovan; Hadebe, Lunga, Mbeba; Nakamba, Takwara, Munetsi, Banda, Musona; Muskwe, Kadewere

Nigeria: Uzoho; Aina, Bassey, Ajayi, Onyemaechi; Simon, Onyeka, Iwobi, Iheanacho; Boniface, Moffi.

Francis Uzoho of Nigeria
Francis Uzoho in action for Super Eagles || Credit: Imago

Zimbabwe vs Nigeria match prediction

Zimbabwe 0-2 Nigeria

The Super Eagles will look to quickly put the Lesotho disappointment behind them, boasting superior squad depth and quality. They also seem to always play better on the road than at home, which means they will have too much for the Zimbabweans.