Lesotho coach Leslie Notsi pocketed his respect for Nigeria after his side picked up a priceless 1-1 draw in their first game of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in Uyo on Thursday.
After holding the Eagles to a goalless first half, Motlomelo Mkwanazi gave Lesotho a shock lead from a corner before West Brom centre-back Semi Ajayi headed Nigeria level from a Kelechi Iheanacho’s corner 11 minutes later.
Before the game, Notsi was modest about his expectations, stressing the abundance of talent in the Nigeria national team compared to theirs.
However, the 153rd ranked nation surprised the Super Eagles in front of a handful of fans in Uyo and the result will boost their confidence going into the remaining fixtures in the series.
“There wasn’t much difference but there were situations where you could see the quickness and speed but 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,” Notsi told journalists after the game.
Lesotho currently top Group C of the qualifying series and will host Benin Republic in their second game on Tuesday.
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