The Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Toyin Ibitoye on Wednesday said the first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho’s injury would not affect the team’s chances when they square up with Bafana Bafana of South Africa.
Uzoho will not be in action when the team plays the crunch AFCON qualifier against South Africa on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The 20-year-old youngster got a rib injury while playing in his Spanish second division club side Elche 1-5 loss against Cadiz on Sunday.
He will be out for four weeks.
In place of Uzoho, the Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr, called on dependable Enyimba FC’s shot-stopper, Theophilus Afelokhai, as a replacement.
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However, the Super Eagles face a race to record a win in South Africa to avenge for the defeat it suffered in the first match of the AFCON qualifiers.
It will be recalled that the Rohr-tutored team suffered a shocking 0-2 loss to the Stuart Baxter’s side at the Nest of Champions, Uyo on June 10, 2017.
Not minding the first game loss, Nigeria now top Group E of the AFCON qualifiers with nine points from four matches, a point ahead of second-placed South Africa.
A win for the three-time African champions in the match will seal a qualification ticket to next year’s tournament in Cameroon, after missing the two previous editions.
Ibitoye said that Uzoho’s injury presented an opportunity for other goalkeepers to impress, adding that there was no preference among them because they are all good hands.
“Three goalkeepers have been invited now, but only two will be picked. It is important for us to have three in camp because of injury.
“The coach will choose the best two in consultation with his staff. The ones invited are up to the task and it is a good opportunity for them to prove themselves.
“Everybody will be given a level playing ground, according to the coach and I can say that it won’t affect our chances in South Africa.
“We have to make do with what we have in camp now and also enjoin all to support the team in this crucial game, that is all that is required from the fans,’’ he said.
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Ibitoye said that the team’s technical crew expected the goalkeepers to effectively use the window opened for them to be in between the sticks for the national team, in absence of the first choice goalkeeper.
“The technical crew expects optimum performance from the invited goalkeepers and to impress because right now, we cannot go with an injured goalkeeper.
“I believe that the goalkeepers are competent enough. We are praying that other players will be injury free after being in action for their various clubs this weekend.
“We expect injury free players for the all-important game come Nov. 17,’’ he said.