It was an unbelievable outcome at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, as lowly-rated Lesotho almost defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the opening game of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
To the dismay of most Super Eagles fans, the reverse was almost the case as an attack led by Taiwo Awoniyi of Nottingham Forest and Victor Boniface of Bayer Leverkusen failed to score in the first 45 minutes.
Coach Jose Peseiro was so attacking-minded that he loaded his midfield with four players, including Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City and Ademola Lukeman of Atalanta on the wings. But that didn’t yield anything tangible in the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, the lowly rated Lesotho, ranked 153 in the world by FIFA as of October 26, 2023, showed more promise than their galactic hosts. They pressured the Super Eagles until they secured the opening goal in the 56th minute through the boots of 29-year-old Motlomelo Mkhwanazi, who currently plays for Bantu FC in his home country.
The Super Eagles fought back almost immediately, and the goal came from the most unlikely person on the pitch. Semi Ajayi, who plays as a defensive midfielder for both the Eagles and West Brom, got the equaliser for Nigeria in the 67th minute.
At the end of the caging encounter, Lesotho ran away with a 1-1 draw at the hands of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The draw means that Lesotho is topping Group C, followed by Nigeria, pending the outcome of other games.