Nigeria’s dreams of a World Cup return started on a shaky footing with a disappointing 1-1 draw at
home to minnows Lesotho.
After losing the ticket to the 2022 edition to eternal rivals Ghana, the Super Eagles began their 2026
World Cup qualifiers campaign on a stuttering note against the low-rated Crocodiles in front of a
boisterous home crowd. Lesotho – ranked 153rd globally; 113 below Nigeria – took the lead in the 56th minute against the run of play at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Thursday.
But 11 minutes later, defender Semi Ajayi rose to the occasion to power a header past the Crocodiles’
goalkeeper, sending the roaring home crowd into raptures.
The Super Eagles enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession in the Group C game but a combination of
wasteful finishing and defensive heroics from the South African side made the job tough for Nigeria.
On Sunday, the Super Eagles, however, have a chance to get their campaign back on track when they
face Zimbabwe in their second clash of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.