Bnei Sakhnin Nigeria U20 Goalkeeper Udoh Explains Why African Goalkeepers Struggle In Europe

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Akpan Udoh is one name many Nigerians are familiar with following his exploits for the title winning Nigeria U17 team of 2015 and also a part of the squad of the 2016 U20 that failed to qualify for the African Youth Championship.

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Udoh who is presently with the current U20 team who are expected to depart Nigeria tomorrow for Guinea-Bissau for the first leg of their African Youth Championship Qualifiers this weekend spoke with Owngoalnigeria.com on his career at club and national team level.

OGN – How Prepared Are The Flying Eagles For The Guinea-Bissau game?

Udoh – We are still preparing but so far, it’s been good all the way but as players we need to do more as the coaches are really doing their best in preparing us for this game.

OGN – How much do you know about Guinea-Bissau?

Udoh – Guinea is a good team but I don’t know much about Guinea-Bissau and I got to know Guinea because we played against them at U17 level. I have been doing a lot of research on the Guinea-Bissau team to know them before our game.

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OGN – How has it been for you since moving to Europe?

Udoh – Believe me, I am very impress with my performance now than when I was in Nigeria. At Bnei Sakhnin they have helped build my confidence and that has made me to be bold in all games. I am respected in Israel thanks to the exploits of Austin Ejide, Dele Aiyenugba and Vincent Enyeama who are all highly respected here in Israel.

OGN– Why do you think African goalkeepers are not much in Europe?

Udoh – First of all you can only use two goalkeepers in a game. One on the pitch and another off the pitch. So that means generally goalkeepers are not so much in demand like outfield players.

However I think the problem most African goalkeepers face in Europe is usually that of staying focus, most of them lose focus after moving to Europe and the ones who are yet to move abroad are not fortunate enough to have good trainers and facilities.

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OGN– Finally, what should Nigerians expect from this set of Flying Eagles starting with the Guinea-Bissau game?

Udoh– First of all our aim is to make up for the disappointment of failing to qualify for the last African Youth Championship. On my part and I believe it’s same for my teammates we will do everything for this team to qualify. Our aim is to start off with a good result against Guinea Bissau.

Osas Mahawi