Warriors suffer first defeat in 2026 WCQs after losing to Lesotho

Zimbabwe suffered their first defeat in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Group C campaign after losing 2-0 to Lesotho in Friday’s matchday three encounter played at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Warriors entered the match as favourites, fielding a relatively strong first XI that included Wolves youngster Tawanda Chirewa, who made his international debut in the match.

The national team started the encounter on a high note and controlled the early pace.

However, they failed to create any meaningful opportunity at goal during the first quarter hour of the game.

Lesotho, on the other end, played cautiously and relied mostly on quick breaks.

Likuena’s approach paid off in the 21st minute when they forced the first corner kick of the game. The set piece was delivered and Rethabile Rasethuntsa headed home to open the scoring.

The away team launched another counter-attack ten minutes later and Jane Thabantso made no mistake in finishing the move, doubling the lead.

The Warriors tried to respond and Chirewa was denied by the woodwork. They also launched a couple of attacks but they went to the break trailing.

In the second half, Lesotho continued to play deep, and this time, they tried to preserve their lead.

Zimbabwe took long to settle after the restart and was frustrated until they found their rhythm towards the hour mark.

The launched a series of attacks but nothing came out.

The home team was also denied by the woodwork for the second time in the game when substitute Tymon Machope’s overhead kick hit the bar later on.

The game ended with no more goals scored and Lesotho secured their first win in the World Cup Qualifiers for the first time in over a decade.

The result places Zimbabwe on the bottom of the table with two points, while Likuena moves on top of the Group C, at least for now, with five points.



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