Can Aiyenugba, Odinaka Uzoho Solve Nigeria’s Goalkeeping Crisis?
Israel-based Dele Aiyenugba and Odinaka Uzoho of La Liga club Deportivo La Coruna could be the solution to Nigeria’s goalkeeping crisis ahead of crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers in September following the illness of first-choice Carl Ikeme.
Ikeme is undergoing treatment for acute leukemia and will be out of the game for months, while South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi was far from convincing when he stood in for the England-based shot stopper against South Africa in an AFCON 2019 qualifier last month.
There are good goalkeepers in Nigeria league, but the team need a direct replacement for Ikeme for the games against Cameroon.
Nigeria is currently facing goalkeeping crisis ahead of Cameroon showdown.
Lets Take a look at these goalkeepers:
The Hapoel Ashkelon first-choice goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba was impressive last season when he manned the post for 33 games.
He was outstanding for Bnei Yehunda and is the most experienced Nigeria goalkeeper in Europe apart from former goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
His experience will be handy for Eagles when they host Cameroon if given the nod.
He last featured for Nigeria in 2011 in an AFCON 2012 qualifier against Guinea in Abuja, which ended in a 2-2 draw and eliminated the Eagles from the tournament.
Six years on, he has not been forgiven for a rare poor performance, but the matches against Cameroon could well be what he needs to be back in top reckoning.
Nigeria have an exciting goalkeeper in the making in Francis Odinaka Uzoho who is with La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna.
The 18 year old goalkeeper was part of Nigeria squad who won FIFA U17 World Cup in 2013 in a team Dele Alampasu was the first choice.
Uzoho joined Deportivo La Coruna from the famous Aspire Academy in Qatar and he has been doing well with his Spanish team in the pre-season games ahead of new season.
The teenager already has an imposing physical presence and his apprenticeship overseas in the last six years should give him the edge against older and more experienced goalkeepers.
He could be gradually blooded into the full international squad as he and Alampasu are future of the Super Eagles.