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Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper to the last World Cup in Russia, Francis Uzoho, 20, yesterday slammed critics who have been sceptical of his age.
The lanky goalkeeper and favorite of Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr, was on Instagram live page yesterday to clear air about his age controversy.
Uzoho who is almost back to full fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a knee ligament injury he sustained during Nigeria’s 1-1 friendly draw with Brazilin Singapore last October, attributed his rapid growth to why a section of the media is confusing his present physical weight and height to his age.
Uzoho passed the mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) age test conducted by FIFA at the Under-17 World Cup which is the only rational proof of true age of all participant at international tournaments.
“As at 2013 when I was reserve goalkeeper to Dele Alampasu, my physical growth was actually very slow and as a matter of fact, Dele was taller than me but few years later my physical growth became rapid which is now a huge advantage for me,” Uzoho explained.
Uzoho was even then third choice goalkeeper at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in UAE won by Nigeria.
His football career however took an upward swing when the Franco/German tactician, Rohr, preferred him as the best replacement for Carl Ikeme to the World Cup finals where Nigeria finished third in the group behind Croatia and Argentina.
“It’s very embarrassing when your fellow countrymen make insinuating remarks about the age of the young man defending the honour of the nation.
“I did my best for the team and very proud of all the players to the tournament in Russia. For most critics who think my best wasn’t good enough may have started this talk about my age. There is nothing I can do about that.
Uzoho however insists he has no grudge against anyone and will continue to do his best for Nigeria.
“No grudge anyway because football is life to us in this part of the world and I can understand the frustration and emotions of teeming Nigerian football fans as well when our national team is not doing well,” remarked Uzoho on that Super Eagles’ Instagram live interview page yesterday.
Uzoho is looking forward to returning to Deportivo La Coruna at the end of his loan spell with Omonia Nicosia in the Cyprus League.
Capped 16 times by Nigeria, Uzoho played all three matches as the Super Eagles were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stage.
He made a solitary appearance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Cup in the win over Tunisia as the West African nation sealed a third place finish in Egypt.