Profiles Of The Men In Rohr’s Goalkeeping Headache

Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr could grapple with a goalkeeper selection headache in the double-header 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against Sierra Leone in Novembeer.

Nigeria will resume competitive football at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin against Sierra Leone on November 13 and meet their West African neighbours in a reverse fixture four days later.

Rohr is spoilt for choice in the goalkeeping department with Maduka Okoye, Daniel Akpeyi and Sebastian Ogenna Osigwe in the main list while Francis Uzoho and lkechukwu Ezenwa are both on stand-by.

Cpmplete Sports reporter, OLUYEMI OGUNSEYIN, profiles the goalkeepers that Rohr will choose from in the upcoming clashes with Sierra Leone.

Maduka OKOYE (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Maduka Okoye recently impressed in the Super Eagles friendly ties against Algeria and Tunisia and the German-born Nigerian goalkeeper made his competitive debut for Sparta Rotterdam on Wednesday.

Okoye was in goal for Sparta Rotterdam but ended on the losing side after they were eliminated by ADO Den Haag in the first round of the Dutch Cup, an outing which held at the Cars Jeans Stadion.

The 21-year-old didn’t disappoint as he made five vital saves to keep Sparta Rotterdam ahead for most of the game after Danzell Gravenberch gave them the lead on 39 minutes before ADO equalised.

Also Read: Osimhen, Aribo, Akpeyi Return As Rohr Unveil 24-Man Eagles Squad For 2021 AFCON Qualifiers Vs Sierra Leone

However, the former Fortuna Dusseldorf shot-stopper was beaten by Luuk Koopman in added time as the game ended in a1-1 draw and went it into a penalty shoot-out where he could not make any save.

Club football is very important to help keep shape and fitness but the surprising thing is that Okoye never showed porousness in goal rather
he was up to the task versus both Algeria and Tunisia.


Daniel AKPEYI (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Gernot Rohr is boosted by the return of Daniel Akpeyi who was in goal for Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday as they beat Chippa United 1-0 in a Premier Soccer League game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Having missed Chiefs 3-0 1loss to Mamelodi Sundowns, Akpeyi was cleared to face Chippa after missing the end of last season due to ill- health and after also obtaining a new South African work permit.

The 33-year-old is expected to keep his place when Kaizer Chiefs pay a visit to Orlando Pirates in their next match which is the semi-finals of
the MTN 8 Cup at the Orlando Stadium come Saturday.

Meanwhile, Akpeyi has been recalled for next month’s AFCON qualifiers against Sierra Leone to set the tone for a fresh battle of Super Eagles goalkeepers against Maduka Okoye who is the first choice.


Sebastian OSIGWE (FC Lugano, Switzerland)

Swiss-born Nigerian goalkeeper, Sebastian Ogenna Osigwe has finally got his much-awaited first ever invitation into the Super Eagles even ahead of the AFCON qualifiers against Sierra Leone next month.

Osigwe has never hidden his desire to represent Nigeria despite being born in the Swiss city of Luzern to a Nigerian father and will be ready to grab the opportunity with both hands after being invited.

The former Flying Eagles goalkeeper trainee joined FC Lugano who play in the Swiss Super League during the summer transfer window after ending his six-year stint with lower leagueoutfit, SC Kriens.

Also Read: ‘He Has Settled Very Well’- Gerrard Hails Balogun’s Consistent Performance For Rangers

Lucerne-born Osigwe signed a three-year deal with Lugano, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2022-2023 season. He is yet to keep a clean sheet in four Swiss Super League appearances for Lugano.

But with the 26-year-old commanding a regular shirt at Lugano, it was pretty difficult for
Super Eagles boss, Gernot Rohr not to look towards the goalkeeper’s direction prior to next month’s fixtures.


Francis Uzoho (APOEL Nicosia, Cyprus)

Francis Uzoho has returned to action again after spending over a year on the sidelines due to the injury he sustained during Nigeria’s 1-1 friendly draw against the Selecao of Brazil in October 2019.

The Nigeria nternational made his first appearance of the 2020/21 season as APOEL Nicosia went away to massacre PAEEK 4-0 in a Cypriot Cup contest at the Keryneia Epistrophi on Wednesday night

He took to the social media to celebrate the mportant victory and his return to action. “After 380 days here I’m back stronger IN CHRIST.ALONE,” the 22-year-old wrote on his verified Twitter page.

The news comes as a huge relief for Gernot Rohr as he announced his Eagles squad for next month’s 2021 African Cup of Nations double-header against Sierra Leone on Thursday, 29th of October, 2020.

Uzoho will now be looking to make his Cypriot 1st Division debut for APOEL who he joined on a permanent deal in the summer transfer window against Apollon Limassol at the GSP Stadium on Saturday.

Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC, Nigeria)

Ikechukwu Ezenwa has never really been the first-choice goalkeeper for the Super Eagles as he has always had to play second fiddle and going into November’s AFCON qualifying ties, he is match-rusty.

The 31-year-old had actually disclosed his readines for the two games against Sierra Leone with his performances for Heartland back in March which had seen him keep six clean-sheets in ten matches.

However, the Coronavirus pandemic spoilt things and led to the suspension of all football activities for some months with the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) new season yet to kick off.

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Source: Complete Sport