The Super Eagles of Nigeria began their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on a disappointing note with a 1-1 draw against Lesotho at the Uyo Township stadium in Akwa Ibom State.
The three-time African Cup of Nations winner despite controlling possession failed to create any clear-cut goal-scoring chances against Lesotho in the game.
Despite dominating possession throughout the match, the three-time African Cup of Nations champions struggled to carve out clear goal-scoring opportunities against Lesotho’s solid defensive setup.
The Crocodiles took the lead in the 56th minute when Motlomelo Mkhawanazi capitalized on a momentary lapse in the Super Eagles’ defense, finding the net and quietening the home crowd.
Francis Uzoho’s misjudgment of the ball opened the door for Lesotho, allowing their player to seize the opportunity before him.
Nevertheless, the Super Eagles rallied, finding an equalizer in the 67th minute courtesy of Semi Ajayi’s goal, injecting a glimmer of hope back into the team.
Despite their efforts to secure a decisive winning goal, Lesotho’s steadfast defensive performance denied Nigeria further success, ensuring both teams shared a point.
The Super Eagles will next face Zimbabwe on Sunday at the Huye Stadium in Butare, in a game Nigeria must pick the maximum points if they are to brighten their chances of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.
5 takeaways from the clash between Super Eagles and Lesotho
1. Super Eagles Woeful In the First Half
The Super Eagles delivered a lackluster performance in the first half against Lesotho. The players were disappointing in the first half with their performance lacking penetration, sufficient desire and intensity required in a football game.
2) Boniface struggles In Osimhen’s absence
Victor Boniface failed to impress in the absence of Victor Osimhen. Osimhen missed the clash against Lesotho due to the injury picked up against Saudi Arabia.
In the absence of Osimhen, the Bayer Leverkusen star led the attack alongside Taiwo Awoniyi, who has struggled with injury problems in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, despite his incredible form for his German side, Boniface failed to impress against Lesotho and missed some scoring chances.
3. Onyeka fails to step into the shoes of Wilfred Ndidi
Jose Peseiro entrusted the Brentford midfielder with the task of filling in for Wilfred Ndidi. Unfortunately, Onyeka fell short in impacting the game and did not bring the commanding presence that the Leicester City midfielder would have provided to the Eagles’ midfield.
4. Jamilu Collins the weak link in defence
Jamilu Collins re-entered the Super Eagles’ lineup during a competitive game against Lesotho due to Zaidu Sanusi’s injury and Bruno Onyemachi’s fitness concerns.
Unfortunately, he did not leave a positive impression on Nigerians, encountering difficulties in contributing to the attack and displaying defensive vulnerabilities, thus becoming a weakness for the Eagles’ backline.
He was eventually replaced by Bruno Onyemaechi with 17 minutes to the end of the game.
5. Super Eagles defensive woes continue
The defensive struggles of the Super Eagles continue and has become a source of worry ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in January 2024.