|The Super Eagles of Nigeria will kick off their World Cup Qualifier against Lesotho in Uyo on Thursday but who will be in goal? (Photo credit: @TheNFF)|
As the Super Eagles of Nigeria take on Lesotho in their 2026 World Cup qualification game later on Thursday, it’s important to evaluate the state of the team and what to expect in the game.
All things being equal, Nigeria should be qualifying from Group C without the usual permutation of hoping one team loses by certain margins and then hoping to beat another team by a given margin to advance; it’s the Nigerian way.
With the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the group, the Super Eagles have in them a rival that doesn’t have enough bragging rights, but if South Africa ever wants to make up some ground on Nigeria in the football context, this is their opportunity.
The Super Eagles will be without star striker Victor Osimhen and Leicester City’s midfield enforcer due to injuries, but coach Jose Peseiro has enough talents in his pool to do justice to the fixtures ahead of him, starting with Lesotho.
If Nigeria wants to make it to the 23rd FIFA World Cup, the secret is in the effort the players bring to the table and the selection of the man at the helm. The coach is spoilt for choice in the midfield and up front, but the midfield options are tricky while the big conundrum is in the goalkeeping department.
Francis Uzoho has shown too many times that he is not the right man for the job. Beyond his many mistakes that have ruined too many scripts for the Super Eagles, his club form is a source of concern, and in a sane environment, he shouldn’t even be in contention.
Maduka Okoye is next in line, but his past work leaves absolutely nothing to be excited for. He was in goal for the Super Eagles at the last AFCON tournament, and his gaffes led to the early exit of the nation from the event.
Olorunleke Ojo, the Enyimba of Aba goalkeeper, is the home-based lad in the squad, and many have clamoured for a chance for him, but how well does the head coach trust the home-based players? These locally sourced players have helped the country in the past, but will the coach give them a chance?
Lesotho isn’t a strong metric to judge the quality of the Super Eagles, but a commanding result will give confidence to the team and allay the fears of the supporters. It’s a marathon; all eyes will be on South Africa, but the Super Eagles must take each game as it comes, one at a time.