One of the trio is expected to start in goal at the FNB Stadium on Saturday as the Super Eagles will be without their first-choice shot-stopper
Former Nigeria goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu has charged Ikechwuku Ezenwa, Theophilus Afelokhai and Daniel Akpeyi to maximise their opportunity when called to be in goal for the Super Eagles’ game against South Africa.
Nigeria, Group E leaders, will take on Bafana Bafana in their penultimate 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the FNB Stadium on Saturday without Francis Uzoho.
The Elche goalkeeper was replaced in the 23-man squad by Enyimba’s Theophilus Afelokhai for the crucial outing after suffering a fracture in his rib during an encounter in the Spanish second-tier.
And Shorunmu who represented the Super Eagles at the 2002 Fifa World Cup has advised the trio to give their best for the team and also lauded the inclusion of two goalkeepers from the Nigeria Professional Football League in Gernot Rohr’s squad.
“Their invitation to the national team is a good development for the NPFL,” Shorunmu told Goal.
“I remember I said it sometimes ago that we will get to a time when goalkeepers in the domestic league will compete for the no. 1 position in the Super Eagles.
“The decision[for who will be in goal] is left for the goalkeeping department to make because what we see might be different from what they see and what they want. I believe the three goalkeepers are ready to play when called upon but the decision is left for the coaching crew to make.
“In the case of Uzoho, he’s having a good momentum but we just need to be patient with him and some other goalkeepers that will come around to give him pressure that the place is not for him. For me, the No. 1 spot is still opened but the thing is that when you get the chance you make it count.
“The department is sensitive and there is no policy but my belief is that they should just continue with their impressive displays because the longer they stay in the team, the more experience they acquire.
“I remember when Enyeama came to the national team, I told him I’m leaving the team and you have a good quality as a goalkeeper, and thank God at the end of the day, we can see the number 1 in him.”
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Nigeria will aim to avenge their 2-0 defeat to the Staurt Baxter’s men in the first-leg of the Afcon qualifiers at Godswill Akpabio Stadium back in June 2017.
But the former Besiktas and Zurich goalkeeper has warned them to avoid unnecessary pressure and errors as they target to secure their place in next year’s continental showpiece in Cameroon with a win.
“They should not give themselves unnecessary pressure and let the spirit of the day take care of the game, when you look back that we lost at home, definitely we made mistakes and there is always mistakes in every game but they should minimise their mistakes,” he concluded.