…insists World Cup door open to Enyeama
Super Eagles’ goalkeeper trainer Alloy Agu has given an insight into why it was difficult for the technical crew to reinstall Daniel Akpeyi in goal despite returning from injury and elected to stay put with Ikechukwu Ezenwa against Zambia.
Akpeyi was expected to man the goal post in Eagles’ back-to-back World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroon last month but injury forced him out of those games and Ezenwa was inevitably chosen to face the Indomitable Lions.
The IfeanyiUbah FC shot stopper never disappointed as Nigeria beat Cameroon 4-0 in Uyo and played out a 1-1 draw in Yaoundé four days later. Akpeyi was back in action for his club and got invited for the Eagles’ last home game against Zambia.
Many pundits thought Manager Gernot Rohr would go with his most experienced goalkeeper in camp for the tie with the Chipolopolo but the German opted for Ezenwa instead. Agu, who was part of the decision, said they could not have done anything otherwise because Ezenwa had proved he was ready for the big challenge.
He said it would have been unfair to drop the home-based goalkeeper after stellar showing in the Cameroon matches and WAFU Cup of Nations in Ghana.
“It would be too bad to drop him, that could affect him psychologically because Ezenwa had done incredibly well and had racked up a number of appearances before the Zambia game.
It is not that Akpeyi is bad, he is one of the best around but Ezenwa did well against Cameroon, he also went to WAFU Cup and kept four clean sheets couple with two matches against Benin Republic in CHAN qualifiers, he was in good shape for Zambia, he reacted very well during training and thank God we won and picked the ticket to the World Cup,” he said.
Meanwhile, the former goalkeeper insisted that ex-captain of the team Vincent Enyeama is open to an opportunity to be part of the World Cup squad despite the fact that there is no goalkeeping problem in the team.
“We don’t have goalkeepers’ problem, there have never been anytime we were in crisis in that department. As for Vincent, he is welcomed into the team, the coach has said the door is not closed against any good player including Vincent,” he said.
JUST IN: Kano Pillars’ defender, Chinedu Udoji, is dead
Kano Pillars defender, Chinedu Udoji, is dead.
The erstwhile Enyimba of Aba skipper was reportedly involved in a ghastly motor accident in Kano on Sunday night.
The central defender starred in Pillar’s 1-1 draw against Enyinba at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Udoji, 28, is survived by his wife and children.
Top athletes snub C’Wealth Games
- AFN battles to get best available
…may release team list today
There are strong indications that some of the country’s top athletes might snub the forthcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15. Reports have it that red-hot Divine Oduduru and Tobiloba Amusan are two major doubts due to engagement with their various schools in the USA.
Investigation by New Telegraph also revealed that more of these athletes had decided to concentrate on winning medals for their various schools. Some of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity with our correspondent said they would have loved to be part of the Games but it’s out of the calendar of the international athletics body. One of the athletes said: “I am on scholarship here and my school has already made it clear that the Commonwealth Games is not part of the International Association of Athletics Federations calendar.”
“It is the dream of every athlete to represent his or her country and I don’t want to be an exception, hopefully everything will be resolved soon” Another athlete, who also expressed her disappointment, said going to Australia would be a dream come true, but it was beyond her powers. According to the athletes, the Athletic Federation of Nigeria has a lot to do in convincing their schools to release them for the Games.
Meanwhile, the Technical Director of the AFN, Sunday Adeleye, has assured that the best legs will represent the country in Gold Coast. While expressing his happiness on the performance of the team at the just concluded trials in Abuja, Adeleye said the AFN was monitoring all the athletes doing well both internationally and locally. He said: “I don’t want to start thinking about who might be available or not; all we are doing now is to assemble the best athletes to represent the country. “The fact is we have to look at the athletes on the list and then follow up with their schools and clubs because we are aware of their importance to their schools too.
“We have noticed some top athletes during the trials and I am happy with what we were able to achieve during the three days. “On Monday (today), the final list for Australia will likely be out and the whole world can see who finally makes the team.”
NTF promises to develop wheelchair tennis
Nigeria Tennis Federation President, Dayo Akindoju, has assured the growth of the game in Nigeria. In the wake of outburst by a player that he turned his back on wheelchair tennis, following Nigeria’s inability to attend the ongoing African qualifiers in Kenya, Akindoju said there was no iota of truth in that stressing that the complaint of the player was misplaced.
Last week, an aggrieved wheelchair tennis player alleged the president had abandoned them since he assumed office last June. “I have always meant well for the game and it’s unfortunate that the player who accused me has not been following the trend since I became president of the tennis federation,”Akindoju said, in response to the report.
“For example, he should know that after the elections, I invited the secretary of the wheelchair tennis department of the NTF and two of their representatives to Abuja and the only item on the agenda of that meeting was how to take wheelchair tennis to the next level.
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