Our goalkeepers need high-profile training to excel, says Rufai
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Peter Rufai, has said that the current crop of goalkeepers in the senior national team require more high profile training to be in top form when called to national duty.
Speaking on a radio programme recently Rufai said Super Eagles goaltenders, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi had the talent to be outstanding, adding, however, that they required proper guidance and nurturing to be able to compete favourably with the best in the world.
The former Deportivo de La Coruña of Spain shot stopper enjoined the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to ensure that goalkeepers are unearthed and developed from the grassroots.
Rufai, who picked the 1-4 loss Nigeria suffered from Denmark at France 1998 World Cup as the highest goal margin he conceded in a single game in his entire career, stressed that he never had any regret representing the country at the tournament.
“Nigerian goalkeepers need special nurturing. Ikechukwu Ezenwa is a naturally gifted keeper… Uzoho is equally good when looking at his structure and skills, so also is Akpeyi. But beyond this, the goalkeepers need high profile training to be exceptional on the goal post.
“Every job has its tricks, and football is not different. I am working towards brining out a blueprint on how to groom national team goalkeepers and also the ones at the grassroots, so that the federation will work with it,” he said.
On Nigeria’s disastrous outing at the France 1998 World Cup, Rufai said everybody involved in the Super Eagles at the time, including players and officials, were to blame for the poor performance.
“When looking at my performance at France 1998 World Cup, I will say I never had any regret representing the country. The 1-4 defeat by Denmark was one of the bad moments of my career. The problem of the team at that time should not be put on one person. The lapses of the Eagles at the championship should be put on the entire team. I thank the Nigeria football fans for their full support throughout my career,” he stated.
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