Former Nigeria captain and shotstopper Peter Rufai has called on Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to create more competition for the goalkeepers in the team by giving them equal opportunities.
Since former Burkina Faso and Gabon coach Rohr took over the Super Eagles in 2016, the likes of Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho and Maduka Okoye have held the Eagles No. 1 spot, in the search for a permanent solution to the goalkeeping problem that has plagued the team following the retirement of Carl Ikeme due to illness.
Though Rohr has chosen Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Okoye as his first choice, the legendary Rufai, who was in goal for Nigeria at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, believe giving the other keepers enough playing time will bring the best out of them.
The 58-year-old Rufai, who made 65 appearances for Nigeria, also suggested a system be put in place in the team specifically for ‘managing goalkeepers only’.
“Actually, as a matter of fact, the goalkeeping department needs to have competition,” the former Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper said on Lagos Talks recently. “The goalkeepers need to have competition.
“And the coach or whoever needs to let each of these goalkeepers have playing time. So, by the time they have playing time, each goalkeeper will know that any of them could come on board.
“So, my take will be for Nigeria to set up a system of managing – a team that will be managing goalkeepers only.
An AFCON winner with the Super Eagles in 1994, Rufai has offered to create a ‘blueprint’ that will develop goalkeeping in the Super Eagles and the country at large.
“To me, what I’m looking at, I want to come up with a blueprint plan of how goalkeeping can be developed in Nigeria and for the Super Eagles,” he said.