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Ifeanyi Udeze: There’s no goalkeeper crisis in Eagles

By Jacob Ajom

This is a World Cup year and the Super Eagles will be going to Russia; are you satisfied with their World Cup plan?

Yes, so far. I will give kudos to the present board of the NFF, led by Amaju Pinnick for the elaborate World Cup plan they have put in place for the team. They have lined up a lot of friendly games for them. In the aspect of money, the players know what they would get for qualifying for the World Cup and how much they are receiving as bonuses at every stage. I think this is the first time this is happening and it is a very good development. So, I am very happy with the arrangements so far.

Nigeria’s team poses before the African Nations Championship semifinal match against Sudan at Marrakech Stadium on January 31, 2018, in Marrakech. / AFP PHOTO

What hope do you have in this team at the World Cup?

For me basically, I just want them to go out there and give it their best shot. I just hope and pray that their best will be good enough to make Nigeria and Africa proud at the end of the day.

If you were asked to advise Coach Gernot Rohr, which department of the team do you think needs reinforcement?

I think the coach is doing a fantastic job. But in terms of the team, where I feel we still have some problem is the left full back position. However, I believe the coach would have noticed that and I believe he would sort that out soon before the World Cup begins.

But the impression is that the greater problem is the goalkeeping department, which some people dubbed  “goalkeeper crisis” . You don’t share their opinion?

No. I disagree with them. We don’t have a goalkeeper crisis. Maybe what they mean is selection crisis the coach is facing right now. We have four very active goalkeepers who are doing very well for their clubs and country. As far as I am concerned we have four or five very good goalkeepers who could do us proud any time any of them is called upon.

Nigerian football now and then, which would you rate higher?

In terms of organisation, I would rate now better than our time. But if you talk about the quality of football I will rate our time higher. Then we played the game with passion

Which was your most favourable match for the Super Eagles?

My most memorable match would be the match against Ghana in 2001 in Accra. I came in a day to that game and after the match I was declared man-of-the-match. I was really happy after that game. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

 


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