Nigerian legendary goalkeeper, Peter Rufai has insisted that the goalkeeping crisis of the Super Eagles is not in a disastrous state yet.
Despite the abysmal state of the goalkeeping department of the Super Eagles, Peter Rufai stressed that Nigeria is blessed with excellent goalkeepers.
The Eagles’ first-choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, has struggled to inspire confidence in recent games. The Omonia Nicosia goalkeeper has a history of making mistakes. In October, he conceded cheap goals in the Eagles’ friendlies against Mozambique and Saudi Arabia.
Uzoho mishandled a harmless ball delivery during the friendly game against Saudi Arabian, palming it into his net. In the friendly game against Mozambique, he was unable to stop Gent Cipriano’s pitiful attempt after a square ball found its way into the Nigerian box.
He continued with his poor form during the Eagles’ World Cup qualifying match against Zimbabwe when he failed to respond to Walter Musona’s incredible long-range free-kick.
Super Eagles second-choice goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, is still struggling to establish himself at his new club, Udinese and has not been able to impress coach Jose Peseiro.
Despite the state of things in the goalkeeping department of the Eagles, Peter Rufai told the BBC that the Eagles still have what it takes to make Nigerians happy by qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“Yes, we have a goalkeeping problem, but it’s not that we don’t have quality goalkeepers,” Rufai said.
“They need to be courageous, they must be strong and not let the criticisms demoralize them. The entire team should rise to the occasion.”
He continued, “They can surprise us. Football is a crazy sport. I believe they can still turn things around and make Nigerians happy.
“It’s not a disaster yet. I expect the team to turn it around and qualify for the World Cup.”