Goalkeeping Crisis: Is it Just a Super Eagles problem or a National Emergency

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The Super Eagles, based on public perception, never had it this bad with goalkeepers, who put in great performances for the national team.

Based on this notion, it could be excusable for fans across the country to grumble about the current situation in the goalkeeping department of the national team.

I mean with great names in the figures of Sylvanus Okpala, Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu, Ike Shorunmu, Vincent Enyeama, Carl Ikeme and many more.

However alluring the reminisce about these names could be, they are an absolute sham, more like a smokescreen from what the situation really was, and to a larger degree, similar to what the situation currently is with the national team.

At his height, Peter Rufai was regarded as the best Nigerian goalkeeper, but he wasn’t particularly the shining light at club level.

Peter Rufai played second fiddle to Cameroonian great and Buffon’s idol, Jacques Songo’o.

His Deportivo La Coruña stint would be the highlight of Rufai’s career – he appeared nine times for them.

Vincent Enyeama is another household name. He spent a big chunk of his career outside Nigeria, in Israel, and then had the best part of his career in Lille, France.

Contemporary Football fans would argue these two, in particular, are among Nigeria’s very best and most successful goalkeepers.

Painting scenarios about these two case studies only alludes to the fact that, the Super Eagles never always had it good with goalkeepers. In as much as there is a lot of instabilities going in the Nigerian football ecosystem.

It begs the question if the critics have been too harsh on the present crop of goalkeepers, and rather face the bigger picture.

A proper footballing culture should be embedded in the grassroots, a working system to produce the best talents, right here in the country, just as it is done in proper footballing nations of the world.

It will not rest on the coaches of the national teams to change the fortunes of goalkeepers like Maduka Okoye or Francis Uzoho, the solution will be to harvest the best talents at youth level.

To load them with a specific system of football right from young, with a strong pillar of transitioning into the senior teams.

 

There won’t be a conversation of who is good enough anymore, but who is better based on their natural ability.

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