[FILE] Nigeria’s goalkeeper Francis Uzoho celebrates their victory at the end of during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Iceland at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on June 22, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS ASFOURI
Super Eagles’ first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho may have been ruled out of Nigeria’s Cameroun 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa in Johannesburg next week by a rib fracture he copped in a Spanish league game at the weekend. Uzoho yesterday confirmed that he would be out for four weeks, which means he would also miss the international friendly against Uganda three days after the game against the Bafana Bafana.
Uzoho, who is on loan to Elche in the Spanish second division from Deportivo La Coruna, was in goal when his team lost 1-5 to Cadiz at the weekend. He suffered a ‘heavy concussion’ in the same match and was rushed to the clinic where he was examined and discharged. Elche said via their twitter handle, “Francis Uzoho has suffered a heavy concussion at the party today and has been transferred to the San Rafael clinic.
“After the tests performed no bone injury has been appreciated and has been discharged. Additional tests will be held tomorrow in Elche (sic).The club later revealed that Uzoho would be out for four weeks as a result of rib fracture.
They added: “Francis Uzoho has undergone today’s radiological tests at the Tesla Clinic that determine that the player has a fracture of the seventh costal arch after the blow suffered yesterday at the Ramón de Carranza Stadium. “The estimated time of withdrawal is four weeks.”
Uzoho’s injury means Gernot Rohr has only two goalkeepers, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, in his team for the matches against South Africa and Uganda.
Meanwhile, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dosu Joseph has joined those clamouring for more opportunities in the national team for home-based players.
Following reports that Enyimba number one goalkeeper, Theophilus Afelokhai, was being looked into for a call up into the Eagles, Dosu said the coaches were unfair to the home-based players by inviting over 20 foreign stars to the camp when the local boys have only two slots.
He told The Guardian that players’ invitation to the Super Eagles was an opportunity for those with the right talent to break into the team, adding that the team handlers have not been fair to the NPFL players. “The unconfirmed source on Afelokhai to me is not enough considering the enormous talents we have in our local league. We have good goalkeepers and I believe anyone of them invited can make the country and himself proud.
“Invitation to Afelokha is an opportunity and is left for him too to grab it. Ezenwa has not done badly as we all know. If the planned invitation to Afelokhai is seen as something positive, the question is how many of the local league players are playing for the Eagles? That is the positive thing we looking for,” he said.
He lamented that things have changed from the days of Clemence Westerhof, Bonfrere Jo, Amodu Shuaibu, Stephen Keshi when it came to the number of local players back in the Super Eagles. “Westerhof, Jo, Keshi, Amodu, and even Sunday Oliseh had between six to seven home-based players in the team out of the maximum 23 for a international match.
“Our coach knows the players that he will field as a team. If the foreign-based are 15, our local players should make the rest number of 23 rather than inviting everybody from outside the country. There they can mingle with their foreign counterparts, watch and learn from them.“Those boys at the Aiteo Cup final did very well. If I were the sponsor of the Nigerian League, I would withdraw my sponsorship if the NPFL players were left out of the national team. These players too need to be encouraged,” he stated.