Jose Peseiro has often trusted Francis Uzoho as his first-choice goalkeeper since he started coaching the Super Eagles on May 15th, 2022.
Super Eagles boss, Jose Vitor Peseiro, has come out to defend his first-choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho despite the goalkeeper’s blunder costing Nigeria a win yesterday, Soccernet.ng reports.
The Portuguese tactician invited Maduka Okoye, Adebayo Adeleye, Francis Uzoho and Olorunleke Ojo for the Super Eagles’ friendlies during the International break, but opted for the Omonia F.C. goalkeeper to be between the sticks against Saudi Arabia.
Nigeria could have secured a win after coming from behind to lead 2-1, but a late-minute free kick was fumbled by the handling of Uzoho, meaning the Super Eagles left the Estádio Municipal de Portimão with a draw.
Concerns have been raised for a while now over the quality of goalkeepers in the current Eagles squad, and the blunder against Saudi Arabia looks to have opened old wounds for Nigerian football fans.
The coach, however, has taken responsibility for his player’s mistakes, claiming the criticism they face is unfair and uncalled for.
“I like our players. When they make mistakes, it is my responsibility. The goalkeepers never play freely or calmly because of the people. I don’t know why they attack the goalkeepers every time. Why don’t they attack the strikers when they lose a ball or miss a goal?” the 63-year-old mentioned in his post-match interview.
— Soccernet.ng (@soccernet_ng) October 14, 2023
The coach mentioned that if the fans could hold back their criticism, maybe the goalkeepers would perform better.
“When I arrived here, I remember I was told to change the goalkeeper. I spoke with all of them, no one felt comfortable because everybody attacked them. They could make mistakes, it is my responsibility. Next time I need to train him (uzoho) better,” He added.
The draw against Saudi Arabia left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth of Nigerian football fans, and they’ll hope for a resurgence when they take on Mozambique on Monday.