WCQ: Goalie Ezenwa’s Persistance Fitness Troubles Put Rohr In Dilemma

Published on: 11 November 2016


With less than 24 hours to the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, between the Super Eagles and Fennecs of Algeria, the Gernot Rohr-tutored side has been hit with yet another injury worry, following worries over the fitness of shot-stopper Ikechukwu Ezenwa for this weekend tie.

Ezenwa, who has had to deputise for first-choice goalie, Carl Ikeme, in Rohr’s first two games in-charge,  has been touted to be in goal on Saturday, when the chips get down.

However, Rohr appeared to be leaning towards Daniel Akpeyi or Dele Alampasu, citing the fitness of the IfeanyiUbah shot-stopper as a worry.

“I am confident in all three goalkeepers in camp. Akpeyi is playing regularly and so is Alampasu. I went to Lagos (Federation Cup Final) to see Ezenwa play, because I’d never seen him play a game live.

“I maintain I cannot feature players who have stayed six weeks without action. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it is.

“We are building a team for the future. I want to build a really good team; a team who will win but also play very, very, good football.

“We have tried to do these in our first games (against Tanzania and Zambia), but, now, it will be difficult against Algeria, who are the top team in Africa.

“We will try to beat them, so that we could have a good position in our qualification group for the 2018 World Cup.”

Nigeria is seeking to beat Algeria in tomorrow’s match, to consolidate their leadership of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group. The Super Eagles are buoyed by a 2-1 win in Zambia last month, while Algeria were held by visiting Cameroon to a 1-1 draw last month.

Three-time African champions Nigeria have won back a great deal of public confidence under Franco-German coach Gernot Rohr, who has won his first two games in charge.

The major talking point for Nigeria leading up to Saturday’s showdown is the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who has been ruled out due to a hip injury after he has established himself in the Eagles goal since his debut in September 2015.

South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi was a late replacement for Ikeme and will jostle for the first shirt with Portugal-based Dele Alampasu and Ikechukwu Ezenwa from FC IfeanyiUbah.

credit: leadership