Nigeria’s Super Eagles began their 2026 FIFA World Cup campaign on a shaky note at home in Uyo yesterday evening. The Jose Peseiro coached Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw at home by minnows Lesotho.
Playing a team ranked 153rd in the world – 113 places below Nigeria, Lesotho who have never beaten Super Eagles in all their previous three outings, flew into the lead when Motlomelo Mkwanazi gave the Crocodiles the shocking lead in the 56th minute from a corner kick.
That goal silenced the home fans inside the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
However, West Brom defender, Semi Ajayi, restored parity in the 67th minute in similar fashion, heading home from a corner kick played by Kelechi Iheanacho.
Thereafter, Super Eagles could not find a winner in their Group C opener in a rainy Uyo stadium.
Eagles blew the chance to take charge of the driver’s seat after Zimbabwe and Rwanda had played out a goalless encounter in the group’s other match 24 hours earlier.
Peseiro’s side dominated the first half but paid for their profligacy as Iheanacho saw a free-kick saved, Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi failed to capitalise on a promising cut-back and Ademola Lookman had a low shot across goal turned away.
Technically, Lesotho are leading Group C on same one point as Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Rwanda but are ahead on the away goal rule.
Nigeria’s next game in the qualifiers is against Zimbabwe on Sunday in Rwanda.
Elsewhere yesterday in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying series, Mohamed Salah hit four goals as Egypt cruised to victory in their first qualifier.
The Liverpool forward starred as Egypt thrashed Djibouti 6-0 in Cairo while elsewhere there were wins for Algeria, Mozambique, Burundi and Gabon.
Salah’s first for Egypt came in the 17th minute after Mostafa Mohamed whipped in a cross from the left.
Five minutes later, Salah made it 2-0 from the penalty spot and he completed his hat-trick shortly after the break, pouncing on a ball from Ahmed El Fatouh.
With 20 minutes to go Salah bagged his fourth, with El Fatouh again the provider, and Mohamed added a fifth four minutes later.
Trezeguet completed the rout for the Pharaohs with a strike in the 89th minute inside the Cairo International Stadium.
NIgeria’s Starting XI against Lesotho
Uzoho – Collins (Onyemaechi 73), Osayi-Samuel (Ola Aina 84), Semi Ajayi, Calvin Bassey – Onyeka (Aribo 73), Iwobi, Lookman (Moses Simon 59), Iheanacho- Boniface, Awoniyi (Moffi 59)