Despite being ranked 113 places behind the Super Eagles, the Crocodiles of Lesotho earned a momentous point in Uyo on Thursday.
Contrary to popular expectations, Lesotho put up a strong defense against Nigeria in the World Cup qualifiers. They even scored first before eventually conceding an equaliser in a Group C matchday 1 encounter in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
Lesotho coach Leslie Notsi insists the shocking result was not a fluke as suggested by many, but a product of his team's thorough preparation and unwavering self-belief.
Speaking after the game played at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo, Notsi emphasised the importance of approaching the match without fear or intimidation.
"We did not give them respect," Notsi declared during the post-match press conference. "We said no, 'they are the same human beings like us, let's go there for enjoyment."
However, Notsi said their enjoyment on the pitch did not imply wasting time. Instead, he said he encouraged his players to express their abilities and exploit some weaknesses already identified in coach Jose Peseiro's team.
"We followed the team, we saw the video clips, and we saw areas that we could capitalise on," Notsi explained.
This meticulous analysis paid off, as Lesotho disrupted Nigeria's rhythm and frustrated their attacks.
Though he was excited with what his team achieved against Nigeria, Coach Notsi acknowledged that there is always room for improvement in the subsequent games ahead.
"There is a lot that we have learned from this match," he stated. "We have to improve on that moving forward," he added.
All even on matchday 1
Lesotho's stunning draw against Nigeria has certainly injected excitement into the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. The two matches already played have been drawn, with South Africa and Benin yet to play. Rwanda and Zimbabwe had played out a barren draw in their game decided 24 hours before the match in Uyo.
Either South Africa or Benin Republic can pull clear in Group C, depending on the outcome of their match later on Friday.