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Can Francis Uzoho Step Up to The Plate If Stanley Nwabili Remains Injured?


Super Eagles tournament goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili was stretchered off injured in Super Eagles' heartwarming 2:0 win against Cameroon. It's now touch-and-go as to whether he will be available for the quarter finals against Angola.


In 6 outings for the Super Eagles, Stanley Nwabili has already conceded a whopping 7 goals which on the face of it would suggest a poor goalkeeper.


But the former Lobi Stars goalkeeper is now the messiah between the sticks for Super Eagles fans and it begs the question why?


Nigeria fans went into this Afcon tournament with so much trepidation about the goalkeeping department. Uzoho was always found wanting when it comes to dealing with particular types of shots. Okoye was just getting worse and was having dwindling fortune in club football.


So that department was in dire need of a savour and many fans think they have found it in Stanley Nwabili.


Let's be clear, Uzoho and Okoye faltered largely (recently) when Nigeria played with only 2 centre backs. When this was also the case with Nwabili, the Chippa United man conceded a massive 7 goals in just 3 games against Mexico (4), Guinea (2) and Equatorial Guinea (1).


So, how come Nigeria fans are happy to overlook Nwabili's leaky moments and not be that forgiving of Uzoho and Okoye?


Well, sadly for Uzoho and Okoye, their poor performances came in high profile matches. Also for Uzoho particularly, his mishandlings came at regular intervals within a short space of time which are still very much fresh in the memory.


But crucially, Peseiro didn't switch to a formation having 3 centre defenders in time enough to see how Uzoho will fare in it.



Yes, under Gernot Rohr, both Uzoho and Okoye conceded goals with 3 centre defenders, but these were not the comical and embarrassing varieties.


Nwabili has really benefited from Peseiro's change in formation. That said though, he does look very assured at the back and his giant frame provides an air of confidence.


Nwabili has exhibited competence in parrying, punching and interception skills when called upon. His distributions are also as otherworldly as they are effective either with his feet or hands.


Formation or no formation, Nwabili is a highly competent goalkeeper. But so is Uzoho and Okoye in my humble opinion.


Now that the formation that exposed Uzoho's weaknesses has been tossed in the trash bin, I don't think Nigeria fans have anything to worry about if the Cyprus based man mans the post for the remainder of the tournament. That way, we will be able to compare apples with apples when comparing how Uzoho fares against Nwabili when situated in a similar formation.


Many fans are praying for Nwabili speedy recovery from injury, so am I. But, in the meantime, I firmly believe we have a more highly experienced goalkeeper in Uzoho who can equally get the job done in continuing this remarkable run of Super Eagles' clean sheets if given the opportunity.


From having a goalkeeping crisis, a change in formation, rather than a change of goalkeepers, is what, in my view, has effectively addressed this problem!


So, as Nwabili has found a home in this new strategy, there is nothing to suggest that things will be any different for Uzoho.

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