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2026 World CupQ: Five takeaways from Nigeria’s 1-1 draw with Lesotho



By Wale Mustapha
It was a disappointing start for Nigeria in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifications after being held to 1-1 draw by Lesotho on Thursday in Uyo.
The Super Eagles had to rally before sharing the spoils with the Crocodiles who took the lead in the second half through a header from Motlomelo Mkhwanazi before Semi Ajayi equalized for Jose Peseiro’s side.
Here are’s five observations from the frustrating draw between Nigeria and Lesotho.
1. Super Eagles’ defensive worries continue
It was evident that Jose Peseiro has not find a lasting solution to a leaky defense of Nigeria.
He’s been relying on the partnership of Semi Ajayi and Calvin Bassey for sometimes now but it seems not giving the needed protection for Francis Uzoho in goal.
It is expected that the Portuguese try out new combinations in that department before AFCON.
2. Nigeria’s attack is weak without Osimhen
You will expect that with arrays of notable names Nigeria is blessed with, especially in the attacking positions, Peseiro can call anyone to lead the line.
However, it is proven again that other strikers struggle to come to party without Victor Osimhen leading the line. Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi and Victor Boniface were parented with golden chances to hand Eagles the lead but fluffed them.
3. Super Eagles need a creative midfielder
It was reflected during the last international break that the Super Eagles require a player that can unlock the defense of the opponents with deft passes. Such scenario played out during the Lesotho game.
Both Frank Onyeka and Alex Iwobi could not provide the needed passes for the attackers which made the Crocs to outsmarted them in the second half.
Jose Peseiro need to look for a new Number 10 that help the team win matches or turn results in team’s favor with those key passes.
4. Peseiro’a tactics still not convincing
The Portuguese manager’s playing style has not been evident after being in charge for over a year.
The display against Lesotho on Thursday was lacklustre and one might wonder what is to come for the upcoming AFCON tournament in Ivory Coast next year. He will need to make things right before then if he does not want heavy backlash from Nigeria’s soccer enthusiasts.
5. No more minnows in African football
The Crocodiles of Lesotho have once again proven that the gap between the heavyweights and minnows in African football is getting closer.
Coach Lesli Notsi’s masterclass defending and brilliant counter attacking style showed that winning a match or getting a decent result against the so called big boys in the continent only require preparations and understanding your opponents, then played to your strength.
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