…as Nwabali undergoes late fitness test
Amid uncertainty over the fitness of Stanley Nwabali, a section of Nigerian fans have taken to social media to plead with Super Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro, to start Enyimba goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo ahead of erstwhile number one Francis Uzoho in the quarter-final against Angola, PUNCH Sport Extra reports.
Nwabali, who has started all four games at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations and has kept three clean sheets, was injured in Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Cameroon on Saturday, making him doubtful for the next game on Friday.
The Chippa United goalkeeper was fouled in the 78th minute by Georges-Kevin N’Koudou while saving a cross in his box. He then requested to be substituted in the 80th minute after receiving treatment on the pitch.
Uzoho is expected to replace Nwabali in goal against the Palancas Negras, if the latter fails a late fitness test on Wednesday (today), but fans on social media platform, X, are afraid following his past mistakes and have encouraged Peseiro to start Ojo instead.
Uzoho made his Eagles debut in a 4–2 friendly win against Argentina in 2017 but following a series of blunders and uninspiring performances, the 27-year-old lost his spot to Nwabali, who was only recently invited to the national team a few weeks before the AFCON.
Many have still not forgiven him for his slow reaction to an innocuous Thomas Partey shot in Abuja last year, which cost the Eagles the ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Nigerian fan, Tafa Ishola, wrote, “If Nigeria is out as a result of Uzoho howlers, the coach should be sacked, we have others but they keep forcing Uzoho on us, we refuse to embrace mediocrity. Post-Afon he should stay away from our national team.”
Another Nigerian with username Star Lord added, “Olorunleke Ojo is a better goalkeeper than Uzoho, I hope our coach takes note.”
Omima also advocated for Ojo’s start. “Let us try Ojo Olorunleke please. Even if he is not as good as Nwabali, he can’t ever be as worse as Uzoho.”
Two other fans echoed the same sentiments with @kayyyyleee writing, “Been following Ojo Olorunleke tho and he’s a decent and composed keeper.” Female fan, Olanna Oco, added, “God! Please they should just put Olorunleke Ojo, not Uzoho. Nwabali, why??????”
Israel Atumen believes that Uzoho in goal confirms that Nigeria would lose against Angola.
“If Uzoho keeps against Angola (on Friday), then Nigeria will be coming home on Saturday. Ojo Olorunleke should keep instead,” Atumen wrote.
Young Sturaro also believes Ojo should get the nod over Uzoho if Nwabali is unfit.
“If Stanley Nwabali wasn’t fit for the match against Angola, I’d give Olorunleke Ojo the nod. I’ve seen enough of the other egbon.”