Francis Uzoho is the undisputed first choice goalkeeper of the senior national team of Nigeria since before the World Cup in Russia, where he ended keeping goal in all three group games for Nigeria.
Although he has stepped up in some areas of his game, the need to have a goalkeeper who will give him a run for the first choice spot is much needed. The duo of Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa have failed to provide such competition.
Owngoalnigeria.com takes a look at some goalkeepers who are likely to push Uzoho for the first choice spot if given the opportunity by way of invitation.
1. David Nwolokor – SKF Sered of Slovakia shot stopper hasn’t kept goal in the past three games for his club, however the former Football College Abuja prospect still remains the most active young Nigerian goalkeeper in Europe the past three years.
2. Theophilus Afelokhai – The way he rose from third choice to first choice at Enyimba speaks volume of his mental strength and fighting spirit. There’s simply no way he won’t push Uzoho for the number one spot if handed another call after his recent call up ironically as replacement for the injured Uzoho for the games against South Africa and Uganda respectively.
3. Emmanuel Daniel – A poorly advised move to South Africa slowed his career down for two years. He has terminated his contract at Orlando Pirates by mutual consent and with his current move to Gombe United, the former Nigeria U23 shot stopper is no doubt the surest to challenge his Uzoho but he need to first have a regular run of games.
4. Dele Alampasu – Ironically he was first choice at U17 level ahead of Uzoho who was third choice for the all conquering Nigerian U17 team of 2013 World Youth Championship. In Portugal he hasn’t make the step up as expected as he is still not considered good enough for the first team, he has however gained significant playing time with the B team of CD Feirense which has helped his physical state and also place him among options to Uzoho.
5. Arthur Okonkwo – Already training with the first team of Arsenal at the age of 17 with some people even saying he started training with them since the age of 16. A shot stopper who has progressed quickly through the ranks at Arsenal. The fact that he works with some of the best goalkeeper trainers and also train with experienced goalkeeper makes him an option when looking at Nigerian goalkeepers who can challenge Uzoho for the first choice spot.