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Football | Afcon

Chigozie Agbim © Shengolpix

Agbim's long road to Afcon



Football is called the beautiful game for many reasons.

Despite its beauty, rejection comes along, but only a few have been able to manage it.

Super Eagles third-choice goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim, is one footballer who fought rejection at every stage in his career.

Whether you are a fan of domestic football or not, Agbim’s life story is an extraordinary tale of success, against all odds.

In 2001, Agbim was dropped from Nigeria’s Under-17 team, the Golden Eaglets that was headed for the Under-17 World Cup, in Trinidad and Tobago.

This was after the goalkeeper played a role as the Eaglets won the African Championship, in the Indian Ocean Island of Seychelles.

In fact, Agbim’s heroics earned him the Best Goalkeeper Award at the cadet championship.

But, like the Biblical Moses, the goalkeeper was unable to reach the “Promised Land.”

With the duo of Bassey Akpan and Osaze Uweluyi as goalkeepers, the Eaglets under Musa Abdullahi reached the finals but lost to France in the epic final.

Agbim never made it to the Under-20 and Under-23 teams.

Two years later, Bassey was first-choice as the Flying Eagles lost to Morocco over two legs and failed to qualify for the Africa Youth Championship.

Somehow, he managed “rejection” at the national team and continued to work his way to the top.

The search for greener pastures even took him to Khartoum-based El-Merriekh, but it turned out to be a fruitless venture and he had to return home.

Subsequent attempts at Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Gombe United and Enugu Rangers yielded no dividend.

It was at Warri Wolves that luck finally smiled at Agbim as the Super Eagles gaffer, Stephen Keshi, gave him the chance to hit stardom.

Like a “football starved” professional, the thirst for stardom made him grab the opportunity with both hands and he was later nominated in the Best Goalkeeper category at the inaugural League Bloggers Awards (LBA) in 2012.

Now fast forward to 2013.

2013

Twelve years after, Agbim has blossomed in his chosen trade to become captain of Nigeria’s alternate squad composed of players in the domestic championship and Nigeria’s third-choice goalkeeper at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Since making his debut against the Afcon-bound Angola in 2012, Agbim has become the favourite of Keshi in the domestic scene.

The Angolan side were packed with Europe-based stars like Manucho, Gilberto and Flavio amongst others who were headed for Gabon/Equatorial Guinea.

Critics, who felt he wasn’t good enough after matches against Angola, Liberia, Egypt and Niger Republic watched in awe as the former Warri Wolves goalkeeper maintained a composed state in goal when Nigeria played a star-studded Catalonian side.

The presence of several big names from Barcelona, Espanyol and AC Milan in the Catalona squad did not scare the goalkeeper.

Agbim’s performance earned him plaudits from former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Joseph Dosu, who was in goal when Nigeria won gold at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics.

“I’m impressed with Agbim,” Dosu told supersport.com.

“All his moves were well calculated which is an indication of his readiness for the big stage. It's clear that he has justified his presence in Nigeria's squad at the Afcon,” the respected Dosu said to supersport.com.

International Caps: 5

Angola

Liberia

Egypt

Niger

Catalonia

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