By Michael Obasi
Super Eagles of Nigeria began her 2026 FIFA Qualifying campaign on a rather slow note with a surprised one all home draw against minnows Lesotho at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.
In a game many thought is a free three points for the three times African Champions , the Nigerian team were shocked at home as they forced their opponents to share the points.
The draw has already got tongues wagging on why the team with all her star studded Europe based players could not pummel their opponents who can hardly boast of any significant football history at all levels.
Different kinds of post mortem have started flying around with some calling for the sack of coach Jose Peseiro while some have been very critical of the quality of the players, questioning whether they are even good enough.
It is however very important to note that in as much as it was not the result many Nigerians would have wanted , this is not the time to raise the roof on either the team or the Nigeria Football Federation.
Yes, it was a disappointing result but I can boldly say it is just a temporary setback which the players and their coaching staff are more than capable to turn around very quickly.
On the issue of weather the Coach should be sacked , I personally don’t think we need such campaign or headlines at this point .
Don’t get me wrong , I am personally not a big fan of Jose Peseiro but he has got a job to do and the Nations Cup in January next year will be a perfect place to reassess him after guiding the team to qualification.
With the kind of players at the Country’s disposal , we definitely don’t have any excuse whatever not to beat Lesotho in Uyo even without a coach.
No disrespect to Lesotho, but like they say in the local parlance, shoe get size.This is exactly what we should have shown the crocodiles but failed to do so.
But I have watched football enough to also know that these things happen in football sometimes and that is why it is the beautiful game.
I know for a fact the players are already kicking themselves for not starting the Qualifiers with a win at home and cannot wait to move to the next one to bounce back to winning ways.
And I also strongly believe this early upset will and should serve as a wake up call to the team that they will not just get the 2026 World Cup ticket on a platter of Gold and must get very serious with their remaining games and opponents.
As critical as we want to be with the lads , many of them rank among the very best on the continent especially with the Country’s offensive power with the likes of Victor Boniface of Bayern Leverkusen,Victor Osimhen of Napoli, Taiwo Awoniyi of Nothingham Forest, Samuel Chukwueze of AC Milan and Ademola Lookman of Atalanta.
No country on the continent currently boast of a better forward lineup like Nigeria and this alone is a strength we must maximised.
I think this is the sort of solutions Coach Jose Peseiro should be pondering about as Nigerians look forward to how the team will quickly bounce back in their next game against Zimbabwe and subsequent matches.
So I will personally plead that as football fans and pundits we should moderate our criticisms and try to help the team find possible solutions so that we can get the best out of the team.
Micheal Obasi is a Sports Affairs Analyst/ Journalist, based in Abuja, Nigeria
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