The Super Eagles of Nigeria are facing increasing pressure in the lead-up to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, driven by concerns about the team’s goalkeeping situation, with recent goalkeeping blunders causing distress among fans, Soccernet.ng reports.
The goalkeeping department is under scrutiny, with Francis Uzoho’s costly errors against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique raising doubts about his reliability.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Nigerian international has found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
During a World Cup qualification tie against Ghana in 2022, his inability to save a long-range shot led to Nigeria losing its World Cup ticket.
With this, pressure is starting to mount up for the head coach of the Super Eagles, as well as fears among the Nigerian football faithful on not losing their AFCON glory over the lapses that can be solved beforehand.
A Potential Solution: Noah Atobulu
After the Mozambique game, Nigerian journalist Oma Akatugba suggested a possible solution to the goalkeeping conundrum.
He shared his conversation with coach Peseiro on X (Formerly Twitter). In their discussion, Akatugba mentioned that the coach and his team had started researching Noah Atobulu, a goalkeeper with Nigerian heritage who has previously represented the German national team at the youth level.
“They believe it could be challenging to convince him to switch to Nigeria due to his talent and prospects with the German national team. After some research, Jose showed me that Noah had played for the German under-21 team, but I promised to work on convincing him to change his nationality. He didn’t appear entirely convinced but said, ‘Okay, we’ll see.’ I’m pleased to have brought Noah to their attention, and I’ll continue my efforts in Germany.” -Akatugba wrote on his social media feed.
I had a conversation with Jose Peseiro and brought up Noah Atobulu. He seemed surprised, and his team started researching Noah immediately. They believe it could be challenging to convince him to switch to Nigeria due to his talent and prospects with the German national team.…
— Oma Akatugba (@omaakatugba) October 17, 2023
Exploring Additional Options
The suggestion of Atobulu as a potential solution has ignited discussions about the need to explore additional goalkeeping options.
With Uzoho’s recent struggles and Atobulu’s regular starting position for Bundesliga side Freiburg, Atobulu could provide competition for the Super Eagles’ goalkeeping role, especially when facing strong opponents like the Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau in the upcoming AFCON tournament.
Other Goalkeeping Prospects
While Atobulu may pose a challenge in terms of convincing him to switch allegiance, given his prospects with the German national team, there are other promising options to consider.
Emmanuel Daniel, once expected to succeed Vincent Enyeama, and Chijioke Aniagboso, who has shown promise but is yet to make his Super Eagles debut, are among the potential alternatives.
Charles Aniagboso! That’s his name, Just in case you have forgotten.
While we consider options as a solution for the upcoming tourney, the ex-Giant Brillars goalie is highly recommended as a potential solution for our goalkeeper crisis. #SuperEagles pic.twitter.com/8XTeiD6pvA
— Ayomide Oguntimehin (@ayo_oguntimehin) October 18, 2023
As the Super Eagles aim to secure their fourth AFCON title, the debate over goalkeeping choices becomes more critical, and fans are eager to see how the situation unfolds.
The question of whether Nigeria should consider Atobulu as a solution to their goalkeeping issues remains open, and it may become clearer as the tournament approaches.