Russia 2018: Coach Gernot Rohr Begins Search For Top-Class Goalkeeper Ahead Of World Cup

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is considering his options as he looks to arrive at the Russia 2018 World Cup with a top-class goalkeeper.

The Super Eagles were plunged into a goalkeeping crisis after the team’s first choice keeper Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July.

And it is believed that Ikeme, who is currently undergoing treatment, has a remote chance of playing in Russia.

Rohr opted for South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in Uyo on June 10, but the Chippa United keeper’s choice backfired as Nigeria succumbed to a humiliating 2-0 defeat by Bafana Bafana.

READ: Russia 2018: Gernot Rohr, Pinnick Set To Clash Over Invitation To Tammy Abraham

The German manager decided to ditch Akpeyi for IfeanyiUbah custodian Ikechukwu Ezenwa for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against African champions Cameroon – and the domestic star kept a clean sheet as the Eagles pounded their fierce rivals 4-0 in Uyo before battling to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in Yaoundé.

Despite Ezenwa progressing to pull off some excellent saves to help Nigeria beat Zambia 1-0 in Uyo on October 7 to qualify for their sixth World Cup, our correspondent learnt that Rohr is not convinced that the 29-year-old is good enough for a starting role at the football’s showpiece event in Russia.

The former Gabon coach has reportedly set a semifinal target for his team in Russia and he believes he needs a top-class keeper to achieve the goal.

It was learnt that it was one major reason why Rohr decided to revive his pursuit of veteran France-based keeper Vincent Enyeama.

The former Burkina Faso coach ran into a roadblock when he tried to persuade the 35-year-old ex-Nigeria captain, who represented the country at the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, to come out of international retirement to help the country qualify for the Russia finals.

READ: Russia 2018: “Nigeria Can Win Next Year’s World Cup” – NFF President, Amaju Pinnick

With Lille star Enyeama, who called it quits with the Eagles in October 2015 after a major falling out with ex-Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh, allegedly evasive about his return to the national team, Rohr has decided to shift his attention towards Girona teenage keeper Francis Uzoho.

UAE 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup winner Uzoho made history as the first foreign teenage keeper to play in the Spanish La Liga after keeping a clean sheet to help Girona secure a point in their 0-0 draw against Eibar on October 15.

Nigeria goalkeeping coach Alloy Agu confirmed on Tuesday that they are keeping a tab on 18-year-old Uzoho.

“We are watching, we hope he continues to do well at top level,” the Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner was quoted by as saying.

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