November 16, (THEWILL) – The Super Eagles were held to a lacklustre 1-1 draw by Lesotho in their opening 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification match on Thursday. The Nigerian squad went into the game as strong favourites, but failed to live up to lofty expectations against the lower ranked Crocodiles.
Nigeria controlled possession and carved out several chances in the first half, with efforts from Kelechi Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi going close. However, they were unable to break the deadlock before the interval.
Shockingly, it was Lesotho who took the lead just after half time through Motlomelo Mkhwanazi’s strike, stunning the home crowd. Nigeria continued to press and finally found an equaliser in the 67th minute via Semi Ajayi’s header.
The draw leaves Nigeria frustrated and a qualification that could have been boosted by a strong statement win is looking like an uphill task now. Manager Jose Peseiro will be demanding a strong response in their next qualifier against Zimbabwe on Sunday.
Overall, it was a disappointing result for the Super Eagles against lowly ranked but spirited opponents. The team failed to demonstrate their superiority and will need to improve dramatically to achieve their World Cup ambitions after failing to reach Qatar 2022.