A few days ago, Nigeria pulled off a brave victory over Libya in Tunisia. The Super Eagles were two goals up before Libya managed to equalize, but Musa’s 81st-minute effort gave Nigeria all three points and first place in the group. Their next opponents in Group E are South Africa away, who were held to a goalless draw in Seychelles.
After the dust has settled a bit, coach Gernot Rohr will have to make a few decisions ahead of the important match against South Africa. One of the biggest decisions will be what to do at the goalkeeper position. Francis Uzoho has looked insecure in goal at times, especially in the game against Libya on Tuesday.
Uzoho, a 19-year old Deportivo La Coruna player, is on loan to Elche, the Spanish 2nd division side, for the whole season. As he is the second choice keeper in the team, he was only in front of goal once this season, in a Copa Del Rey match. Overall, he was in the first team only four times. In fact, he has played more international matches than first-team matches for either Deportivo or Elche.
After the game against Libya, many have berated him for his bad decisions throughout the game, and weak hands, especially for the Libya equalizer when he managed to parry the ball but only to another Libya player, who then scored.
With him being so young and inexperienced might be a problem for Nigeria unless he gets in a few regular competitive games under his belt. It’s exactly this that Coach Rohr pointed out. Being 19 years old, Uzoho is prone to make some mistakes as he is still learning. He wanted to point out that the whole defence was to blame for Libya equalizing, not just the keeper. The Libyans came at them hard in the second half and looked like scoring anyway, even without the Uzoho mistake.
Francis Uzoho has played for the Nigeria U-17 team before being called up to the senior squad in 2017. Since then, he has made nine appearances for the Super Eagles, including this year’s World Cup in Russia. Even though he made some mistakes, a player can’t be judged on one performance alone, as everyone makes mistakes, especially at this young age. Uzoho is definitely a prospective keeper and Coach Rohr has defended him and his decision to throw the youngster into the fire like he did. It’s likely that we will once again see Uzoho at goal against South Africa in November.