No goalkeeping crisis in Super Eagles, Rufai assures Nigerians
Former Super Eagles Goalkeeper, Peter Rufai has assured Nigerians that the injury-induced absence of the country’s number one goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, would not affect the national team adversely in the forthcoming Cameroun 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa.
Nigeria will host South Africa in Uyo in the first of the 2019 qualifiers and Rufai is certain that any of the goalkeepers picked by Coach Gernot Rohr for the match would deputise effectively for the Wolves shot stopper.
Daniel Akpeyi was a surprise exclusion from the list of players invited for Super Eagles training camp in France, with FC Ifeanyi Ubah’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Cesarense FC of Portugal’s Dele Alampasu the only goalkeepers in the squad, which will meet Corsica in a friendly game lined up to prepare the team for the match against South Africa.
Speaking with The Guardian, Rufai said the country is so blessed with talents in the goalkeeping area that whoever the coaches picked would do well for the team.
“For the goalkeeping area, I will say we do not have any cause to panic because of Carl Ikeme’s injury. Ezenwa, Alampasu or whoever that is called upon from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is good enough to man the post for the country.
“Not until you give opportunity to any of these goalkeepers, you may never know the talent in them. It is good we believe in the ones that we have and give them the confidence that they too have what it takes to mount the posts for the Eagles,” he said.
Rufai, who holds a UEFA B Licence and is currently Ikorodu United’s goalkeeper trainer hailed the inclusion of three other NPFL players in the team, adding that the performances of the newly invited ones might open doors for others.
“In the number of local players included in the list, we might be looking at it as if it is small, but let these three players open doors for others. I believe several invitations will come up from time to time either for friendly or real games.
“So, let us watch and keep our fingers crossed and give advice where and when necessary in order to remind them of whatever decision they may want to take that will not augur well for the team.
“I believe that we will have a good result against the South Africans. Let us believe that whatever Rohr is doing now is for the nation’s football to take a step towards having a solid team in the near future,” he stated.