In a surprising turn of events, Lesotho’s national football team, led by coach Leslie Notsi, secured a valuable 1-1 draw against Nigeria in the kickoff match of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
The first half remained goalless, but Lesotho’s Motlomelo Mkwanazi delivered a shock lead with a corner, only for West Brom center-back Semi Ajayi to level the score 11 minutes later from Kelechi Iheanacho’s corner.
Coach Notsi, initially modest about his team’s prospects against the talent-laden Nigerian side, expressed his satisfaction with the unexpected outcome.
Despite being the 153rd ranked nation, Lesotho’s performance surprised the Super Eagles in Uyo, leaving a handful of fans witnessing a noteworthy spectacle.
“There wasn’t much difference, but there were situations where you could see the quickness and speed. At the same time, I think we didn’t give them respect. We said to ourselves they’re human beings like us, so let us go there and enjoy ourselves.
“Enjoy, not to go and waste time, but the self-belief should be there, and the players should express themselves,” said the Coach Notsi in a post-match statement to journalists.
This surprising result catapults Lesotho to the top of Group C in the qualifying series.
The team will face Benin Republic in their second game on Tuesday, riding high on the confidence gained from their performance against Nigeria.
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