Despite finishing in third place at the Africa Cup of Nation (AFCON) in Egypt, fans and sport analysts are still concerned about the goalkeeping department of the Nigeria Super Eagles.
They reckoned that the Eagles weakest points going into this year’s AFCON was the goalkeeping department and however called that a search for reliable goal stopper in earnest should not be overruled.
The fans who in a voice pop reckoned that since Vincent Enyeama retired from the team and Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with cancer, the Super Eagles have struggled for consistency in the goalkeeping section.
Nigeria’s three goalkeepers at the 2019 AFCON – Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho and Okechukwu Ezenwa – would rightly feel hard done if Nigerians single out their department for blame.
“One would have ordinarily expect that Eagles would not allow the Algerians the last gasp goal but the Goalkeeper’s position was Mahrez free kick was so wrong like that of a school boy in the goalpost for the national team,” said Obinna Abuchi a Lagos based footballer.
“The Super Eagles tried, but i would advise that the goalkeepers handlers should do more. For God sake there are better hands with skills and talents in this country, why would they be playing sentiment with the emotions of the fans. I think they should start from that department in the build up process to right their wrongs,” a businessman and football fans, Sodiq Afeez also said.
“Going forward, the Super Eagles need a goalkeeper with a commanding presence and consistent performance. The current crop of goalkeepers does not seem to match that description. Indeed, Akpeyi recorded some memorable saves as Rohr’s first choice in goal, but he caused some costly mistakes, especially the last-gasp freekick converted by Mahrez in the semi-final match,” said a Surulere based football coach, Lere Ipaiye.
“Uzoho seemed to have laid claim to that spot as Eagles’ No. 1 during the 2018 World Cup but lost form at club level, which saw him loaned by Deportivo de La Coruña of Spain to Omonia, Cyprus. I think such was the Super Eagles’ goalkeeper dilemma that Rohr used all three in the course of the 2019 AFCON,”
For the former Super Eagles player, Nduka Ogbade, ‘all the departments in Eagles should be fortified.
Speaking further in his reaction to the fallout of the Eagles performance at the Nations Cup he added that “The issue is how to earnest their talents for the national team glory is still the challenge. The game is now scientific.
“The focus now should be on how to keep these players together and feature them together during the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
“Come 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, the Super Eagles will be strong favourites to go one better than their performance in Egypt.”