Super Eagles’ Manager, Gernot Rohr has started finalising his provisional squad ahead of next month’s international friendly game against Poland, officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have revealed.
Every country going to the Russia 2018 World Cup is expected to send a preliminary list of 40 players to FIFA at least four months before the competition.Nigeria will meet Poland in a friendly match in Wroclaw on March 23 and face Serbia on March 27 in London.
Rohr recently told The Guardian that he will stick to the players he used during the qualifiers for the World Cup and the lone African Nations Cup qualifying match against South Africa last year. But NFF sources said the German has started looking at the players and those who for some reason could not join the team in any of the preliminary games.
One area the coach is particularly concerned about, according to an official who pleaded anonymity, is the goalkeeping department, which was hit by the unavailability of first choice stopper, Carl Ikeme due to ill-health.Ikeme is undergoing treatment for leukemia and may not be ready for the World Cup. In his absence, Rohr has decided to make do with Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi, Dele Alampasu and Dele Ajiboye.
The manager has completely ruled out the recall of former captain, Vincent Enyeama despite fans’ call for his return to the team. Rohr told BBC recently, “We can’t just keep bringing in player after player when you already have those who have proven that they can do the job.”
The NFF said yesterday that the German has dispatched one of the team’s goalkeeper trainers, Pionetti Enrico to Spain to work with 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 two weeks ago.Uzoho was reserve goalkeeper as Nigeria’s U17 boys won the FIFA U17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, and won his first senior cap in a friendly against Argentina in Krasnodar in November last year. He obviously impressed Coach Rohr.
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.