Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr claims that it was a ‘logical’ decision to have left Dele Ajiboye out of his current Super Eagles squad despite his heroics during the African Nations Championship.
Goalkeeping remains a top challenge for the national side following the retirement of Vincent Enyeama and Carl Ikeme’s leukaemia diagnosis.
However, despite showcasing his quality with a heroic display during the Eagles’ 1-0 CHAN semi-final victory over Sudan, Ajiboye was not considered for Nigeria’s squad ahead of their upcoming friendlies against Poland and Serbia.
“They already had their chance,” Goal quoted Rohr as saying when asked about Ajiboye and Dele Alampasu’s non-inclusion in the latest Eagles squad. “Remember that we have invited Dele.
“Dele was second choice in the CHAN team, and it’d be surprising that he was No. 1 and (Ikechukwu) Ezenwa No. 2 in the Super Eagles.
Plateau United’s Ajiboye came off the bench to replace injured captain Ezenwa early into the Eagles’ semi-final against the Falcons of Jeddiane, and ensured it was the West Africans who met Morocco in the final after a series of outstanding blocks.
Alampasu had been another contender to come into the team, but his inactivity looks likely to cost him a World Cup berth. The keeper hasn’t featured for Feirense this term, and hasn’t played a competitive match since April 2017.
“Alampasu, unfortunately, is never playing,” added Rohr. “You cannot take a goalkeeper who is never playing.”
With Ajiboye and Alampasu overlooked, Ezenwa appears favourite to start between the sticks at the World Cup, with Daniel Akpeyi and wonderkid Francis Uzoho his primary rivals.
“Uzoho made his debut for Nigeria against Argentina and did very well,” the coach continued. “He plays for the second team of (Deportivo) La Coruna; we could see him (at the World Cup).”