‘Search for goalkeepers still on, but Uzoho still S’Eagles number one’
Super Eagles’ goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorunmu, has said that national team coaches are still scouting the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) for quality players to beef up the team ahead of the forthcoming African Cup of Nations qualifiers and other international competitions.
Shorunmu, who disclosed that Francis Uzoho is still Super Eagles’ number one goalkeeper and will keep his place in next month’s African Nation’s Cup qualifier against Guinea Bissau, said the coaches will give every Nigerian player, no matter where they ply their trade, equal opportunity to vie for inclusion in the team.
The former Super Eagles’ goalkeeper told The Guardian that Uzoho’s fine form for his club this season has given him the edge over the other goalkeepers, adding, however, that performance in the team’s pre-game training sessions would also count on who man the post in the match. Live Sport
“All the goalkeepers in the team are good, but I still believe Uzoho is still the number one based on his outstanding form so far in his club. Unless there is injury or loss of form in national team camp, there will not be any drastic changes in the team.
“I am still searching for more talents in the Nigerian league, but as an experienced coach, I can only test new goalkeepers in friendly games, not major International matches,” he said.
Recently, a website, transfermarket.com statistics showed that Uzoho is currently Nigeria’s best shot-stopper in Europe this season, saying that Cyprus-based goalkeeper has kept more clean sheets than any of his compatriots in Europe this season.
The report declared that the in-form Omonia Nicosia star has kept eight clean sheets in 15 games, conceding 14 goals so far this term – the best return so far among top Nigerian goalkeepers in Europe. Live Sport
According to the report , Uzoho, whose contract with Omonia ends at the end of this season, is attracting interest from French Ligue 1 club, Stade Reims.
By the website’s rating, Hapoel Jerusalem goalkeeper, Adebayo Adeleye, is Nigeria’s second best goalkeeper in Europe with six clean sheets and 16 goals conceded in 15 games, while Sebastien Osigwe is third in the ranking, having kept two clean sheets from three games for Lugano of Switzerland.
Maduka Okoye is ranked fourth as he is yet to keep a clean sheet for Watford after two games this term.
He disclosed that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has not contacted him on the programme for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations’ qualifier against Guinea Bissau, adding, “but I believe that after the elections next week, the NFF will unveil plans for the game.”