BY KUNLE SOLAJA, Uyo
What a sloppy way to open a World Cup qualifying campaign! The Super Eagles had to struggle to hold Lesotho to a 1-1 draw on Thursday at the Godwill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo to signal what will most likely be a laborious campaign to the 2026 World Cup.
- Sloppy goalkeeping, characteristic of the teamas well as feeble attack and elements of ill luck all combined to rob the Super Eagles of an anticipated victory.
Jose Peseiro still have a lot of explanation to make for his fixation on Francis Uzoho in goa for Nigeria. He put every foot wrong and appeared unsettled throughout the match.
And so, for the first time, Lesotho chalked up a point from an encounter with Nigeria. The sloppy performance of the Super Eagles should however not eclipse the excellent display by Lesotho.
They appeared to have all the antidotes to the sleeky style the Nigerian players were exhibiting. Special praise to their goalkeeper, Sekhoane Moerane whose flexibility and agility complemented the ill luck that appeared to have afflicted the Super Eagles.
Time and time again in the first half, the Super Eagles appeared to prefer walking the ball into the net rather than taking shots. The coach, apparently reserving the best legs, left utility Moses Simon and Sadiq Umar on the bench.
The goal by Motlomelo Mkwanazi for Lesotho in the 56th minute jolted him to introduce Simon, Umar and Ayodele Aribo who all combined to change the tempo of the game and piled pressure on Lesotho.
This paid off in the 67th minute when defender, Semilogo Ajayi employed his good hight to nod home and salvaged a point for Nigeria.
Now it is advantage South Africa who opens their campaign with a home match against Benin on Saturday. A win put them on the driver’s seat Group C.
On Sunday, the Super Eagles will face Zimbabwe at home.