Osigwe, Akpeyi, Uzoho, Okoye, Alampasu, Adeleye: who is best for Super Eagles?


Young Nigerian Israel-based goalkeeper Adebayo Adeleye, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Enyeama in that league recently came out to signal his readiness to represent the Super Eagles of Nigeria when called upon.


This revelation came to my attention hot on the heels of another young goalkeeper also bringing himself to the consciousness of Super Eagles handlers. Switzerland born, bred and based Sebastian Osigwe has been reported stating that he is ready to dump his country of birth, whom he has represented at various age groups, in favour of Nigeria.


With quality options now surfacing, I take this opportunity to examine the quality of options now open to Gernot Rohr in the goalkeeping department.


Options:


Francis Uzoho: prior to being injured in the friendly matches against Brazil on 13 October 2019 , Uzoho had wrestled back his number one position back from Daniel Akpeyi who manned the post admirably in the Africa Cup of Nations the same year.


And from his performances against Ukraine on 10 September and Brazil prior to succumbing to injury, Uzoho was getting back to his razor sharp best. With reflexes of blinking eye and agility of a cat, Uzoho was back dividing to deflect and deter efforts away from the back of his net.


When he comes back from injury, the experience 21 year old is widely expected to be reinstalled as the Super Eagles number one.


Daniel Akpeyi: prior to Ndidi's rash tackle that won the Algerians a free kick in a dangerous are that was duly dispatched by Mahrez to dump Nigeria out of 2019 Afcon contention, Akpeyi was hitherto having a decent tournament.


His point blank saves, parries and deflections contributed to Nigeria reaching the semi-finals.


Though he briefly lost his place after the tournament, sterling performances in the South African league coupled with injury to Uzoho conspired to lead to his return to the national team where he hasn't looked back with decent performances against Lesotho and Benin in Afcon qualifiers late last year.


Although he is doing well in club football, Akpeyi may have to give way to the more elastic and camera friendly Uzoho when the latter returns from injury.


Though a capable goalkeeper, Akpeyi's demeanour and propensity for errors neither inspires confidence from fans nor earns him their respect.

Maduka Okoye: conceding 15 goals in his last 10 games in the lower leagues in Germany does not make for very rewarding reading for the a goalkeeper hoping to stake a claim as Nigeria's number one.


Okoye is surely behind Uzoho and Akpeyi in the pecking order based on experience, quality of league and also goalkeeping accomplishments. In fact, there are murmurs in some quarters that he does not even warrant invitation to the Super Eagles at this time as there are others better placed to take his place.


Still, Okoye has decent goalkeeper skills. His perception, dives, catches, deflections and shot stoppings are noteworthy.

Dele Alampasu: after being released by Portuguese club Feirense, the Under 17 World Cup winner has now hitched his wagon to Ventspil in the Latvian Premier League.


Already a Super Eagles International, Alampasu would be hoping for stellar performances that will put him in the fray for future Super Eagles consideration.


In his last match for Feirense early last year, Alampasu displayed shot stopping abilities, decent distribution, low dive capabilities and overall confidence to keep the ball out.


He will hope to continue with those if he is to revive his national team career.

Sebastian Osigwe: conceding 10 goals in his last matches 10 is a statistic that Osigwe would need to address if he is to be taken more seriously in his quest to squeeze into the Super Eagles set up.


Having represented Nigeria at an Under 21 invitational tournament, the now-26 year old wants to kit up for the Super Eagles in more mature matches.


His advantages are that he plays in the Swiss second division and he keeps regularly. Osigwe shows composure at the back and an uncanny ability to read the game, organise his defensive wall and deflect efforts to harmless territory.


He is surely in the picture for Super Eagles invitation but not in a position to displace Uzoho or Akpeyi at this stage.

Ikechukwu Ezenwa: conceding 7 goals in his last 10 NPFL matches whilst being absent for the last 2 prior to the coronavirus induced break means that Ezenwa has been busy this season.


Although a very decent goalkeeper, his obvious shortcomings in terms of composure and his inability to displace other options - even being overlooked in favour of a less experienced Okoye against Brazil last year - means that Ezenwa is expected to continue to play bit part roles in the national team.

Adebayo Adeleye: this 19 year old Isreal based goalkeeper is set to be the next best thing in Nigerian football.


Although he currently plays in the division 2 for Hapoel Katamon, his team are in the picture for promotion as they currently occupy 4th position on the table which has been partly due to Adebayo's divings, deflections and deterrence in between the sticks.


His starting positions to rush out are timely, his distributions are delicate and deadly to the oppositions, his parries are of high quality whilst his ball punching abilities are effective.


He has good overall technique and the capacity for continuous development if he stays focused and injury free.


Conclusion


The top goalkeepers for the Super Eagles at this time are: Uzoho, Akpeyi and Okoye.


Others like Ezenwa, Alampasu, Osigwe and Adeleye will have to continue to raise their games to displace any of the favoured 3 although Okoye's place in the team continues to be a major sticking point for some fans; they believe the Germany born youngster is not playing at a high enough level to be a Super Eagles goalkeeper.

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