Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, in desperate move to solve his team’s goalkeeping palaver, has dispatched one of the team’s goalkeeper trainers, Pionetti Enrico to Spain to do some work on young goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
Enrico, who came into the Nigeria senior team’s mix ahead of the B squad’s 2018 African Nations Championship qualifying fixture against Benin Republic six months ago, arrived in Spain penultimate weekend.
Uzoho was reserve goalkeeper as Nigeria’s U-17 boys won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, and won his first senior cap in a friendly against Argentina in Krasnodar in November last year. He obviously impressed Coach Rohr.
Ball fans are a bit concerned about Super Eagles’ goalkeeping duties at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, with Carl Ikeme, who was between the pipes for the qualifying matches against Swaziland and Zambia at the beginning of the race still undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Uzoho has kept 10 clean sheets out of 14 matches for the Deportivo La Coruna B squad this term and showed tremendous confidence and agility in the Eagles’ come-from-behind defeat of reigning world vice champions Argentina.
Rohr who share SUN Newspapers’ Sports Personality of the Year Award with NFF president, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick for the Awards ceremony held during the weekend at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, reckons that he has some experienced players in the Super Eagles squad and excluded the inclusion of new players to strengthen the team for the World Cup.
The German tactician has already ruled out the possibility of naming an inactive Vincent Enyeama on the roster for the mundial but plans to call up one of the local lads who took part in last month’s African Nations Championship.
Nigeria fielded the youngest players with an average age of 24.9 years in the qualifiers, and Rohr has declared that the experience of Mikel, Victor Moses and left-back Elderson Echiejile will be vital at the World Cup.
‘’You have to respect what the former players have done in the past but be careful that you don’t try to bring them back because people think so,” Rohr told BBC Sport
“We have big experience in captain [John] Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and our left back Elderson who is now playing in Belgium.
“If we feel the need to strengthen this squad we know what to do because for nearly two years now we’ve had a good atmosphere so far. Another good news is that the young striker in Wolfsburg [Victor] Osimhen is also playing now.
“I will make the [provisional] squad based on this group and also give one of the CHAN boys a chance as well.
‘’We can’t just keep bringing in player after player when you already have those who have proven that they can do the job.’’
Leicester City loanee Ahmed Musa and Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo are the other players in the current squad with World Cup experience having featured in Brazil 2014.