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Eagles’ First Choice Goalie Status Still Up For Grabs: Akpeyi, Ezenwa, Uzoho Toil

Eagles’ First Choice Goalie Status Still Up For Grabs: Akpeyi, Ezenwa, Uzoho Toil

The battle for Super Eagles number one goalkeeping position is still up for grabs with head coach of the side, Gernot Rohr yet to make a decision on who will be in goal for his team at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, Completesports.com reports.

Three goalkeepers; Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are battling for the position in Eagles’ training sessions.

Uzoho was favoured ahead of the other two at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and was in goal in majority of the Eagles’ AFCON 2019 qualifying games.

Uzoho was widely criticised for his poor showing in Super Eagles’ last qualifying fixture against Seychelles and didn’t see much action at club level as a result of his health certificate saga in Cyprus where he spent the second part of the season on loan at Anorthosis Famagusta from Spanish outfit Deportivo La Coruna.

Akpeyi, who plays for South Africa Premier League club, Kaizer Chiefs was in goal in the three-time African champions’ friendly encounter against Zimbabwe last Saturday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

Completesports.com scooped from a reliable camp source that Rohr is still undecided on who amongst the three will be in goal in the Super Eagles’ opening game against the Swallows of Burundi next week Saturday.

“The position of the number one goalkeeper is still very much open. I think it will probably be settled close to our first game against Burundi, “the source disclosed to Completesports.com.

“The three goalkeepers are working hard in training sessions and there is healthy competition among them.”

The Super Eagles are in Group B with debutants, Swallows of Burundi, the Barea of Madagascar and Syli Nationale of Guinea.

They will open their campaign against Burundi on Saturday June 22 at the Alexandria Stadium.

By Adeboye Amosu

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  • Will the real number 1 please stand up?

    On who should be number one goalkeeper, I constructed a home-made stats comparison table, benchmarking this against the data of a high calibre goalkeeper (David Da Gea OF Man U and Spain) to help me arrive at who the best candidate should be:

    – Club Stats across competitions for 2018/19 season:

    Players-App—- GC —- CS—– GR
    Uzoho– 11—– 12—– 5—— 109%
    Ezenwa- 10—– 10—– 2—— 100%
    Akpeyi- 26—– 30—– 6—— 115%
    De Gea- 47—– 63—– 10—– 134%

    **App-Appearances; GC-Goals Scored; CS-Cleansheet; GR-Goals ratio.**

    Clean sheet potential
    Uzoho 1 in 2 matches
    Ezenwa 1 in 5 matches
    Akpeyi 1 in 4 matches
    De Gea 1 in 5 matches

    Below are some of my observations:

    – I came to realise that Akpeyi has played more matches which can only lead one to conclude that he is the most fit among the 3. Ezenwa has battled fitness issues while Uzoho has been dogged by off (and on)-field distractions.

    – All three goalkeepers have conceded equal or more goals per game played. Even a high calibre goalkeeper conceded 134% more goals than games played so all our goalkeepers are in good company!

    – Cleansheets: Uzoho’s cleansheet stats look impressive but he has played the least amount of games. Akpeyi’s cleansheet stats appear better than Ezenwa even though he has been more active (and plays in a better organized league) than Ezenwa. Ezenwa only kept cleansheets against Kwara United and Lobi Stars (both in March) in the 10 games he managed to feature for Katsina United.

    I think the number one slot is Akpeyi’s to lose. He has shown the tendency to lose his starting position when he had the opportunity. He has another one here, hope he doesn’t blow it!

  • BestSports 5 years ago

    Solidarity team and 7 new young players team of oga rohr. Hmmm na wa.
    Zero confidence on this coach. Rohr has a loser mentality. Like technically preparing for failure with ahead of time excuses. My young team. I think we can get out of our group. One game at a time. We are playing friendly match with Senegal the best Africa team. Burundi have players in England and Europe and south Africa that means they will be dangerous opponent. My people, that isn’t the mentality or words of a serial winner! Rohr wants Nigeria to be very happy be at world cup. A world cup team, that says alot. Jesus Nigeria is a serial winning football team.amaju pinnick should tell him. Nations cup runner up or semi final is considered a big failure that is Nigeria for you a serial multiple winners. How many trophies has rohr won in his whole career as manager? Zero! Wholeever knows rohr must tell him to oozed
    A winner mentality with his words and brave approach to win match against all odds. Study amunike interviews with small tanzanian team and check the difference. Amaju must be queried and questioned if Nigeria fail to win this afcon whilst playing scintillating football. We go dey observe things! Too many future explanations of failure even before the ball is kicked..

    • Ikeben 5 years ago

      “Nigeria is a serial winning football team, multiple winner” according to you. Yet we could only qualifier for one out of the last 4 AFCON. In 2012, 2015 and 2017, our dear super Eagles could not qualify for Afcon. Even 2013, we won after 19 years so how are you a serial winner.

      And our humble coach is successfully building a solid team for now and future and people keep criticizing him unneccessrily. Well the bad news is that as long as he keep performing, he will remain the Super Eagles gaffer whether you like it or not.

      • Darey 5 years ago

        God bless you

        • We should not take his submission out of context. I strongly agree with BestSports, that Nigeria is a serial winning nation. Regardless of the 3 nations cups we have in our kitty. How many nations cup finals have we played in since 1984 and in how many of those finals were we robbed of the cup, particularly when we played against Cameroon. Did we forget so soon the Issa Hayatou factor in two of those finals. Barring ojoro and whayo of CAF, Nigeria should have been talking of additional 2 nations cup in addition to the 3 that we have. .
          This is African nation’s cup and not World cup. I do not think it is wrong to demand that Rohr win the cup and that anything short of the cup is more or less, a failure. Not with the caliber of players he has – players, who only last year, were at the world cup. For all the years that Westerhof was in Nigeria he never spoke with pessimistic languages. If it were to be an indigenous coach who has been speaking the way Rohr has been speaking ever since he took over the national team, so many people on this platform and on many other forumn would have called for his head. This NFF would have even found a way to sack the coach immediate alacrity. But because na oyinbo, anybody wey talk done become enemy of the coach and team.
          Amunike is not talking like a pessimist. Keshi never spoke like that. Even Seedorf of Cameroon has not spoken like a pessimist. So, why would Rohr’s case be different? Or is he telling us that we don’t have the players?
          Coward they say, die many times before their actual death. Rohr’s manner of speaking is akin to that of a coward. He should go to the nation’s cup and aim for the ultimate – the cup. If his team plays well and falls short, we will understand and praise them. But if they do otherwise, we will also condemn them
          We are Nigerian football fans and we will always expect nothing but the best from our teams, especially the super eagles. We love good football and cherish excellent performance. Coach Rohr should be aware of this.

  • Presh 5 years ago

    @BeatSports or whatever you are please go and sleep you have a low acumen. 

    • Sometimes ehn @Presh,I don’t know if this is fashion. Someone does a foolish thing doesn’t make him a fool– someone’s thinking on a matter is flawed doesn’t mean he has a low acumen.
      If we don’t agree with ourselves,that’s OK,but I shudnt insult you becos I don’t like ur point of view.
      If u’re into sports u shud already know dat you are in for lots of blood-rush involved,so it’s our duty to contain it and reply without insulting someone’s personality. Let there be decorum even in disagreement, that’s the best way.

      Happy Sunday

      • Bomboy 5 years ago

        Good word @Oge. You spoke my mind.

        Happy Sunday to you too.

        • My pleasure @Bomboy,somehow we have to help each other to focus on that which is worthy abeg.

      • BestSports 5 years ago

        show you are educated. charity begins at home. common is too expensive for those people insulting my opinion on this platform.

  • Bomboy 5 years ago

    deo’s analysis above made my heart skip with fear.

    The ugliest part of it is the appearances (number of games played). Uzoho and Ezenwa had only 11 and 10 appearances respectively compared to De Gea’s 47! Even with Akpeyi’s 26 appearances, it is an understatement to say that our goalkeepers haven’t been busy all season.

    It’s too late to cry now, but I can’t shake off the thought that those three are not the safest hands we have in Nigeria. The goalkeeping department remains our weakest point.

    We just have to support the team and pray that the goalkeepers hit good form at the tournament, and that the defenders do a good job.

    Good luck Super Eagles.

  • Which channel is the match going to be aired?

  • Further 2018/19 stats for the keepers.

    – Out of about 20 matches he could have featured for Katsina United since signing for them, he only played 10 (50% activity).

    Prior to signing for Katsina United, Ezenwa was clubless for a while having severed his relationship with Enyinba where he suffered limited game-time

    – Out of potentially 37 matches Uzoho could have played for Elche and Famagusta, he managed 11 games (29% activity).

    – Out of about 31 games Akpeyi could have played for Chippa and Kaizer, he clocked 25 games (81% activity)

    On number of games played, there is a case for Akpeyi to be number one due how sharp he would be due to his healthy activity figures.

    Ultimately, the choice is for Rohr to make – I hope he chooses wisely.

  • Gone are the Days of Enyeama and Big Carl. its unfortunate Carl’s misfortune, Man if either of those two where there no shaking. Anyway my choice is between Ezenwa and Uzoho out of what we have.

  • @deo, as long as your findings always go in favour of Akpeyi..I will ask u not to put De gea in the picture..u canneva compare a league where we have Mane, Salah, Auba, Kane, Aguero, Vardy, Higuain etc to South African League or Naija League..but among the three, if we are to go with their parformances then Akpeyi deserves it but Out of All the game Ezenwa had kept for naija, he only conceded 3 goals..that was against Cameroun home and Away and against Algeria. But for Akpeyi, I canneva forget the match against South Africa, Argentina and a league match btw his club and Orlando Pirates. I will say he should be but it’s so unfortunate.

  • ezenwa remains the best

  • Austin 5 years ago

    I prefer ezenwa. He talks to the defence and appears confident in goal. he only needs to keep his head down and avoid certain mistakes and I think it’s the job of the goalkeeper trainer and the psychologist in the team to help him achieve that. I prefer him to ezenwa and uzoho because he has better reflexes in goal and understands what it means to represent a country especially coming from his background of the Nigerian professional football league.


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