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Likuena surprise Super Eagles

by Lesotho Times
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Leemisa Thuseho

FOR the first time since 2006, Lesotho national team, Likuena avoided a loss in the hands of the star-studded Super Eagles of Nigeria by forcing them to a surprising 1-1 stalemate in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Group C opening match at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, in Nigeria yesterday.

Having lost all their four previous matches to the Nigeria side, Likuena went to the match as underdogs, and they were out causing an upset and ending the West African giants dominance over them.

The Super Eagles were the favourites to beat Lesotho because of home advantage and gulf of quality players who ply their trades in top league overseas, while Lesotho doesn’t have even a single player playing in Europe.
Moreover, Lesotho is ranked 153 in FIFA ranking while Nigeria are ranked 40.

Lesotho shocked the three-time African champion in the second half after Lesotho’s Motlomelo Mkwanazi put the visitors a step ahead in the 56th minute. However, Semi Ajayi saved Nigeria’s blow with an equalizer in the 67th minute.

Likuena’s first choice goalkeeper, Sekhoane Moerane continued to prove his ability between the sticks as he played a vital role as he produced several super saves to salvage Likuena a point away.
A point away is more than a good and indeed promising start for Likuena.

Talking to the media after the match, Likuena coach Leslie Nots’i said they didn’t give Nigeria respect and he believes that together with his players determination played a vital role in their performance.
“We did not give them respect. We said no ‘they are the same human beings like us, let’s go there for enjoyment,” Notsi said at the post-match presser.
“But the enjoyment we are talking about is not to just go and waste time. But the self-belief should be there, and they should express themselves in the areas that they are good at.
“We followed the team, we saw the video clips, and we saw areas that we could capitalize on.”

As the qualifiers journey continues, Lesotho will in their next match Likuena will host Benin at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa on 21 November 2023.
Lesotho is hosting its international matches in South Africa due to the unavailability of the Setsoto Stadium which is still under Confederation of African Football (CAF) ban due to its bad state

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