Head coach of the Lesotho national team, Leslie Notsi has warned Nigeria’s Super Eagles that his side are no longer the minnows they used to know, www.aclsports.com reports.
The Crocodiles of Lesotho are in Uyo, Southern Nigeria to face the Super Eagles in both countries’ opening game of the qualifying race to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking with a cross-section of journalists after the team’s official pre-match training session, Notsi admitted that his side are the underdogs going into Thursday’s game but warns the three-time African champions that the Crocodiles will not be there to rollover.
“It’s an opportunity for our boys to come and get the exposure. So we just appreciate the moment. It’s exposure and it’s a lot (more than that too) because looking at our recent results, Lesotho is no more a walkover team,” began Notsi.
He continued: “We are coming on a note that we’re expecting a very tough encounter but we’re saying with the results we’ve had as a small footballing country having played up to the final of the COSAFA Cup in South Africa and playing against Cote D’Ivoire where we lost 1-0.
“I think this game comes at the right moment where we’re saying we should see how we can fare against the best team in Africa. Yes we are underdogs, on paper, when you look at Nigeria, having qualified for the World Cup several times and the AFCON, the talents they have playing abroad in the best leagues in Europe, the expectations is it’s going to be a tough encounter for us.”
Lesotho have lost their last three previous matches against Nigeria’s Super Eagles and although it amounts to hoping against hope, the Crocodiles are hoping they can stop the highly rated West Africans on Thursday.
Motsi and his Lesotho troops will be delighted that Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen who almost single handedly destroyed the Crocodiles in one of their previous meetings will be missing Thursday’s game alongside his fellow terror that day, Samuel Chukwueze.
Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro is expected hand a debut to Bayer Leverkusen star Nathan Tella while his club mate Victor Boniface is expected to lead the line for the Super Eagles.
Thursday’s game will kick-off at 5pm Nigerian time at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo also known as the Nest of Champions.