ALEXANDRIA – Despite no longer being first choice for the national team, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has declared that he has “no problem” with Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr’s decision to demote him to third choice behind Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
The giant 20-year old made his debut under Rohr in the come-from-behind 4-2 win over Argentina in a pre-World Cup friendly in November of 2017 as a second-half substitute for Akpeyi.
His performance in his debut game earned the Deportivo La Coruna player a run of games as first choice goalkeeper for the Eagles with Rohr deciding to trust Uzoho in that role ahead of Akpeyi and Ezenwa who had both had turns as first choice but never quite convinced the Franco-German.
Uzoho, however, never really convinced despite being handed plenty opportunities to permanently solve Nigeria’s goalkeeping woes since the forced retirement of Carl Ikeme with his form perhaps, hampered by the administrative issues which restricted him to just three appearances for Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta where he moved on loan in January.
And although he had a solid showing at the World Cup, a silly blunder against Seychelles in the last game of the AFCON qualifiers at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in March appeared to be the final nail in the coffin that put an end to his bid to stand between the sticks for Nigeria at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt as he has failed to add to his 13 caps ever since and lost his place, ironically, to the man he replaced for his debut.
With Rohr having publicly confirmed him as third choice for the national team, the goalkeeper who is currently in Egypt with the Super Eagles as they compete in the AFCON says even though he has no issues with being demoted, he still habours hope of making an appearance in the tournament but would, however, accept if the coach thinks otherwise.
“No, [I’m not worried about losing my place as first choice goalkeeper],” Uzoho told busybuddiesng.com at the Helnan Palestine Hotel base of the Super Eagles in Alexandria.
“But as a footballer, this is the biggest event in Africa and I would like to participate, but if I don’t get the chance to do that, I don’t think I have any problem. I’m fine with the coach’s decision.”