Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report
Captain of the Home-based Eagles, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who got injured in Wednesday’s semi final clash of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) between Nigeria and Sudan has been sidelined for three weeks.
The inspirational Enyimba goalkeeper is to also miss Nigeria’s historic CHAN 2018 final clash with hosts Morocco at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca on Sunday.
A top Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) official at the championship in Morocco hinted yesterday that initial report of the scan carried out on Ezenwa indicate that his injured knee would need between three and four weeks to heal.
“Ezenwa’s injury is not as bad as it was initially feared however, the report of the scan on the injured knee showed that he will need between three and four weeks to get back to action,” observed the top football official thursday.
The former FC Ifeanyiubah goalkeeper carried his brilliant form for Nigeria during the World Cup 2018 qualifiers to the CHAN competition in Morocco. He was partly responsible for Home-based Eagles progress to Nigeria’s first-ever final appearance.
Interestingly, Plateau United FC goalkeeper, Dele Ajiboye who replaced Ezenwa similarly gave a yeoman’s performance in the semi final game with Sudan. The former junior international made several brilliant saves, including a last minute, point-blank effort from a Sudanese striker that would have dragged the game into extra time.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Franco-German Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, who described Ajiboye as “wonderful” against Sudan is reported not to have him in Nigeria’s World Cup plans.
According to SCORENigeria the gaffer has narrowed his choice of goalkeepers to Ezenwa and two others, thereby making it impossible to include Ajiboye in his plans.
“Ajiboye is not in Rohr’s plans for the World Cup,” an unnamed official told SCORENigeria in Marrakech.
“Rohr has made up his mind and it does not look like he will change it no matter what happens here in Morocco.”
SCORENigeria further revealed that Francis Uzoho has been installed as the country’s No 1 goalkeeper for the World Cup even though he has only played 45 minutes for Nigeria in a friendly against Argentina in November and he is no longer playing first-team football at Deportivo La Coruna.
That explained why Enrico Pionetti will shortly relocate to Spain to specially work with Uzoho.
Rohr’s scouts have also picked out another goalkeeper with Nigerian roots who plies his trade in Germany.