Akpeyi Eagles place threatened as Rohr considers Ajiboye

Posted on Feb 14 2018 - 10:42am by admin

Festus Abu

Daniel Akpeyi’s place in Nigeria’s  squad for  the Russia 2018  World Cup could be under threat after Dele Ajiboye’s inspiring performance at the 2018 African Nations Championship in Morocco, our correspondent has learnt.

Ajiboye made some  brave saves to help the Super Eagles reach the  CHAN  final after coming on for first choice goalkeeper Ikechukwu  Ezenwa, who was injured in the  13th minute of the semifinal against Sudan. The Eagles  were  hammered 4-0 in the February 4  final   by  tournament hosts Atlas Lions at Stade Mohamed V in  Casablanca.

It was learnt that Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is impressed with the Plateau United custodian’s  showing  in Morocco  and is considering him  for a place in his 23-man squad for Russia 2018 – at the expense of  Chippa United’s first choice Akpeyi. Sources  claim Rohr believes the former Warri Wolves star  is not one that inspires confidence.

Dele Ajiboye

It was learnt that Rohr decided to put a big question mark on the fate of the 31-year-old  South Africa-based keeper after he  committed a schoolboy error in the shock  4-2 defeat of South American powerhouse Argentina in a friendly affair  in Krasnodar,  Russia on November 14.

The  former Nasarawa United star, who has conceded 11 goals in 15 appearances for Chippa United  in the South African Premier Soccer League this term, had posted an underwhelming performance in the 2-0  defeat by South Africa  in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo on June 10.

With first choice keeper  Carl Ikeme firmly out of the World Cup  as he is undergoing treatment for acute leukaemia after being diagnosed with the illness in July, Rohr renewed  his interest in  veteran keeper Vincent Enyeama as he was allegedly  not  convinced that neither  Enyimba  shot-stopper  Ezenwa   nor Akpeyi was  good enough  to start  for the Super Eagles  at Russia 2018.

However, after Rohr failed to persuade former Nigeria captain Enyeama, who is  said be under pressure from  some of his friends and family members to steer clear of the national team, to end his international retirement, the former Niger coach is said to be considering young Deportivo La Coruna keeper Francis Uzoho as his first choice with  Ezenwa and Akpeyi the other  options.

Uzoho wormedhis way into Rohr’s heart after his encouraging performance after replacing Akpeyi against Argentina. With South Korea 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup winner   Ajiboye’s resurrection, Rohr  is said be seriously considering his options against with Akpeyi allegedly not featuring prominently in his World Cup plans.

“Akpeyi and Enyeama are still in contention for World Cup places if they are in good health, fitness and good form. But Ezenwa and Dele have been good, and if they continue to improve, we will love that because World Cup is a big stage,” Rohr was quoted as saying recently.

Sources close to the team says the former Burkina Faso manager may not invite more outfield players to the Eagles unless any  of the European-born players he is eyeing decide pledge their international allegiance to Nigeria.

Spokesman for the Nigeria Football Federation Ademola Olajire declined to comment on the national team when our correspondent sought his reactions.

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