By Eddie AKALONU
Two former national goalkeepers have expressed the opinion that Lars lagerbackâ€™s choice of goalkeepers for the World Cup remains a straight fight between current holder, Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide.
The duo who pleaded anonymity however added the former national U-17 goalkeeper to the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago in 2001, Bassey Akpan to his list of would be players ahead of final selection for the show in South Africa.
The ex goalkeepersÂ who said they want to remain anonymous in other not to be seen as endorsing some goalkeepers against other, said goal-keeping has been a problem with the national team.
They maintained that Enyeama, who had held sway for sometimes now with Ejide in his shadows and has hugely made a good impact with other team members already attuned to his playing style, has gained enough experience that gives him advantage over any new invitee.
â€œLet it not look like one is favouring some against others, but for me Enyeama has measured up on the position and Ejide asÂ well.
, I think, has been part of the driving force, that kept him on his toes all the time. Lagerback I think, may not go for a change right in the World Cup ,â€ one speaker said.
â€œA competition of that magnitude needs a goalkeeper with experience, thatâ€™s why I feel Eyeama and Ejide have all the advantages to man the post at the World Cup because no coach will begin to try out new hands because itâ€™s risky business to do,â€he said.
He added that even with the friendly matches being planned ahead of the World Cup, it will still be the old hands that would be used moreso as Akpan has not got the height of Enyeama and Ejide.
The reactions in Lagos came in the wake of Bassey Akpanâ€™s inclusion following his good showing as a member of Nigeriaâ€™s winning squad in the recent ECOWAS Nations Cup held in Abeokuta and Ijebu Ode.
The player who was elated at the development has been speaking tough, pledging to give Eyeama andÂ Â Â Ejide a good fight in the team.. â€œIt will be a tough selection for the coaches considering the caliber of goalkeepers invited, but I know Nigeria will have the best of it as there will be stiff competition and only the bests will make it to the World Cup.
Iâ€™m really working hard because this is a great opportunity, and I donâ€™t want to let it slip off my hands. Iâ€™m ready for the challenges ahead,â€ added the former silver medalist at the U_17 World Cup.