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Football | Super Eagles

Ikechukwu Ezenwa © Shengolpixs

Dike calls Ezenwa smartest goalie

Former Golden Eaglets head coach Alphonsus Dike has described the Super Eagles and FC IfeanyiUbah shot stopper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, as the smartest goalkeeper in the land at the moment.

Ezenwa, however, got a thumbs down from football fans over what they considered to be a poor and unconvincing performance in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier in which the Nigerians played to a 1-1 draw away to Algeria in Constantine on Friday.

Dike said though Ezenwa has proved to be the most agile goalie, he needs confidence and a psychological boost to be at his very best for the challenges at the Russia 2018 World Cup.

“Ezenwa is the most agile and smartest goalkeeper in the land at the moment.

“Ezenwa was with me at Enugu Rangers together with Ebele Obi, always a good goalkeeper, but at times he lacks composure and do not calculate well before he takes an action.

“I discovered the deficiency and moved fast to work on it but he switched allegiance to Enyimba.

“Somebody has to work on it to get him to perfect for the task ahead instead of doing nothing and vilifying him unnecessarily.

“I will not join the bandwagon to write him off because of the draw against Algeria, at least we have qualified for the World Cup prior to the dead rubber clash.

“I rate his performance in the clash about 60, 70%, he remains the best, we just have to work on his deficiency.

“Nobody should make the mistake of discarding him because he got the agility as well as match fitness, he has paid his dues qualifying Nigeria for the World Cup.

“Of course, Ezenwa needs a backup, at least one or two quality goalkeepers to help out at the World Cup.

“Vincent Enyeama’s name has been on the table for possible return to the national team based on his experience.

“That decision is squarely Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr’s prerogative as the buck stops at his desk as far as World Cup team is concerned.

“Without doubt Enyeama is a good and experienced goalkeeper and will be a huge plus if he returns but his fitness must be worked on.

“The third goalkeeper must be fished out in time and be tested for agility, composure and experience,” said the former Nasarawa United coach to supersport.com.

Dike said there is no perfect situation anywhere in the world, insisting that Nigerians must strive hard to get the workable one as we look forward to the World Cup.

“We always look for quick fix all or perfect situation but end up with near perfection which is more real in the world.

“Right now our focus is on going to the World Cup and not the quality of team we hope to present.

“The begging question right now is what can we do in the six-month to the World Cup and I think we should look inward to build the team.

“The truth is that no European country can give you the very best in terms of preparation knowing fully well that it could turn around to hurt them. It’s simply politics.

“Our preparation and training must be in-house we can then move close to country with same weather condition with the hosts, Russia to acclimatise,” said Dike.

Nigeria, together with fellow west Africans, Senegal and the north African trio, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia will fly the continental flag at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.


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