Goalkeeper: Rohr explains why he chose Okoye ahead of Ezenwa

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has explained that he decided to replace injured first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho with Fortuna Düsseldorf’s Maduka Okoye during the Brazil versus Nigeria friendly match in Singapore because he felt the home-based Ikechukwu Ezenwa was match rusty.

Brazil forced Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in the friendly game played on Sunday.

Speaking after the match, Rohr noted that Ezenwa, who is number two in the pecking order of goalkeepers, has not tasted action since the conclusion of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, while Okoye was active for Fortuna Düsseldorf’s reserve team in the Regionalliga West.

“We decided to put in Maduka because Ezenwa didn’t play for months, not even in the CHAN Team,’’ Rohr said in an interview with the Super Eagles Media Team.

“He didn’t have any experience of competition in the last three months so we decided to play with Maduka because he was playing for his club.”

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Rohr regretted that Uzoho had to leave the game because of injury, praying the goalkeeper would recover soon.

He added: “Francis had a great match, we regret so much his injury, he will have examinations tomorrow so we will see exactly.

“He is playing again in his club so he can come back with us to play. I hope he will not be out for a long time because we have two important matches to play, against Benin in Nigeria and Lesotho, so we have a lot of work to do.

“He is playing well in his club so he can come back with us. I hope he will not be out for a long time because we have two important matches to play. So, we have a lot of work to do.”

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Uzoho, who was impressive in the game left the pitch in the 65th minute as a result of the injury.

The Omonia Nicosia goalkeeper is now a doubt for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho.

The German was impressed with the general performance of his players, saying, ‘they caused many problems for Brazil.’

Rohr lauded his team’s fighting spirit and solidarity for the duration, despite Brazil leveling in the second half through midfielder Casemiro.

The 66-year-old insisted the Eagles gave their more flamboyant opponents “problems” despite conceding possession to the South Americans.

“The team did very well, big solidarity, because Brazil wanted to win the game,” Rohr added.

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“They scored very early in the second half and when they scored we had another 44 minutes to play, so, it was really not easy but with a lot of solidarity, fighting spirit and also counter attacks especially our wingers; they were very strong today, and we gave them problems.”

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