Deportivo La Coruna star, Francis Uzoho is one of the goalkeepers in the Super Eagles’ set up.
Coach of Abia Starlets, Godfrey Esu wants handlers of the Super Eagles to beef up the goalkeeping area of the team with immediate effect, saying the current number shot stopper, Francis Uzoho is not yet ripe for the position. But the Super Eagles’ goalkeepers’ trainer, Alloy Agu disagrees.
The Eagles handed a 3-2 defeat to the Mediterranean Knights of Libya in their second leg 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Tuesday in Sfax, Tunisia, with Odion Ighalo coming to the rescue with a late strike after the team squandered a 2-0 lead.
Esu told The Guardian yesterday that although the Super Eagles team is taking a good shape, the goalkeeping area needed to be strengthened as quickly as possible. “I am glad our boys got the six points against Libya, particularly for the 3-2 victory on Tuesday because it is not easy to get an away win. But I must say that our goalkeeping area should be worked upon before we participate in the Nations Cup. We are as good as qualified for Cameroun 2019, but I want the coaches to throw the goalkeeping department open for new people to compete for the No. 1 jersey.
“Uzoho didn’t do well in that match on Tuesday. We could have been saying a different thing now but for Ighalo who saved the day. The Super Eagles is taking a good shape now, and we must commend their efforts in picking six points to increase our qualification chances. As I said, the coaches should not rely only on Uzoho in the goalkeeping area. They must give others room to show what they have. If coach Gernot Rohr is not ready to give other Nigerians room to compete for the number one jersey, he should give the duo of Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa the chance to prove their worth. They are not having play time in the team, and that is not good enough,” Esu stated.
Although Agu agreed that more goalkeepers were needed to make the Super Eagles number position more competitive, he also argues that has done well so far.He insists that Uzoho has the potential to be a great goalkeeper in future, saying that he should not be castigated for making some mistakes in the AFCON qualifier. Agu says the 19-year-old Spain-based player made some outstanding saves that helped the Eagles to beat Libya 3-2, adding that all the goalkeepers in the Super Eagles set up are capable of playing for Nigeria in any championship.“Uzoho should not be castigated in any way based on the second leg game against Libya. He kept a clean sheet against Libya in the first leg and nobody complained.
“A goalkeeper sometimes may have a bad day in a game, but that does not make him useless. Uzoho still remains our number one goalkeeper, but this does not mean that others in the Eagles squad cannot perform when they are called to duty,” he said. Agu reveals that the Eagles’ coaches are still scouting for more goalkeepers, adding, “there is no permanent shirt for anyone in the team. If the coaches decide to use any of the keepers, Nigerians should support and encourage such a keeper to boost his confidence.”