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Nigeria’s World Cup opponents, South Africa omit Foster due to mental health issues



South Africa omitted striker Lyle Foster from their squad

Bafana Bafana rated as the team most likely to give the Nigeria Super Eagles a tough time in the qualification for the 2026 World Cup already have issues with one of their potential players.

South Africa omitted striker Lyle Foster from their squad for their opening two World Cup qualifiers this month, a day after his club Burnley said he was struggling with mental problems.

Foster’s participation in January’s African Cup of Nations finals is now in doubt, even if South Africa coach Hugo Broos said on Friday he hoped to see the 23-year-old back in action soon.

“I made contact with the Burnley coach (Vincent Kompany), who I know very well, and also the medical staff,” Broos said.

“Lyle for the moment has a serious medical problem. The team asked us not to give further comment on that out of respect to his family.


“I hope he will be recovered as soon as possible because he can be a very important player for us,” the Belgian-born coach added.

Burnley announced on Thursday Foster would be sidelined indefinitely.

Foster has scored three goals for struggling Burnley this season in eight appearances.

“We ask for your understanding and respect Lyle’s privacy around this matter and will not be making any more comment until further notice,” the English club said in a statement.

South Africa host Benin in Durban on Nov. 18 in their opening qualifying match for the 2026 finals, followed by a second Group C clash in Rwanda on Nov. 21.


South Africa will compete at the Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast in January, drawn in Group E with Mali, Namibia and Tunisia.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.