Israel-based shot-stopper Austin Ejide has urged the handlers of the Super Eagles to look in his direction as they try to find a solution to the goalkeeping problem of the team.
Since the premature retirement of former Wolverhampton Wanderer’s star Carl Ikeme, Nigeria’s German tactician Gernot Rohr has failed to find a lasting solution to the problem of who stands between the posts for the side. Ikeme cut short his playing career after he was diagnosed with Leukemia.
No Nigerian keeper has been able to make the Super Eagles No.1 jersey his own since that unfortunate situation with a few trying their best to a varying degree of success.
Nigeria currently have Kaizer Chiefs’ Daniel Akpeyi, Heartland’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Fortuna Dusseldorf’s Maduka Okoye and, the injured Francis Uzoho, but none has impressed.
Ezenwa didn’t impress during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, paving the way for Uzoho to stay in goal during the tournament in Russia. The 20-year-old went on to concede four goals in just three matches at the Mundial as Nigeria crashed out in the group stages.
Akpeyi got his chance at the 2019 African Cup of Nations, but he didn’t cover himself in glory, despite the Super Eagles third-place finish.
Ejide, 35, has now offered to bring his experience to ease the goalkeeping headache troubling the coaching crew.
“I know the situation in Nigeria. I get positive remarks in Israel and being rated highly could be something that will pave the way,” Ejide told BBC Sport.
“I’ve kept nine clean sheets this season, and we all know that goalkeepers always get better with age.
“I’ve also been following the Eagles, and I believe that with my consistent performances in Israel, there is every chance it opens the door to the possibilities of another call-up.”
“I can never shut the international door to play for Nigeria again. I believe I have what it takes to get another chance,” he insisted.
“There are other goalkeepers who never gave up on international football despite their age or being overlooked,” he insisted.
“At 46, Essam El-Hadary still played a major tournament for Egypt, and I can hopefully follow in that footsteps.
“I keep focusing on club football here, the more I do well, then I will continue to retain that hope of playing for my country again.”
Ejide, who last featured for the Super Eagles in 2014, has 34 caps for the national side.