Deportivo La Coruna of Spain B-team goalkeeper, Francis Odinaka Uzoho has revealed another side of his humble nature, following his declaration that former Super Eagles first choice shot-stopper and captain, Vincent Enyeama is his hero, motivator and mentor.
The 19-year-old Uzoho only made his Eagles debut last November against Argentina in an international friendly, but is set to be Nigeria’s first choice keeper at the World Cup in Russia, where he says he wants to emulate the exploits of Enyeama, the country’s most capped player with 101 national team appearances.
Uzoho said his aim at the World Cup is to stop shots like Enyeama did during South Africa 2010 and the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Uzoho unexpectedly became Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr’s first choice after Carl Onuoha Ikeme was diagnosed with leukaemia and Enyeama was ruled out due to injury, lack of club action and retirement from the national team.
Rohr has stated that the young goalkeeper has a little edge over his two rivals for the post, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, such that the lad is expected to be in goal for the team in Saturday’s Group D opener against Croatia.
Ezenwa was in goal in four of Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying games, while Akpeyi was involved in one, but Rohr hinted that they will both have to work harder to dislodge the youngster.
Uzoho has started the Eagles’ last five games and is seen by many as the successor to Ikeme, but the Spain-based lad says he is not getting carried away by the prospects ahead of him in Russia.
“My biggest hero for Nigeria remains Vincent Enyeama and I always admire him. To think I was watching him at the last World Cup in Brazil, making that incredible save against Bosnia, to now getting a chance to follow in his footsteps is unbelievable,” Uzoho stated.