Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper to the last World Cup finals in Russia, Francis Uzoho, has slammed critics who have been skeptical of his young age with the national team.
According to Nigeria’s ThisDay newspaper, the lanky goalkeeper and favorite of Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, who was on Super Eagles Instagram live page, for the first time cleared air about his age controversy said it was his rapid growth compared to when he was with the Golden Eaglet could be the main reason why the controversy about his age was in contention within the country’s football community.
The player had passed the mandatory age test conducted by FIFA at the U17 World Youth Championship using the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machine (MRI), which is the only rational proof of true age of all participants at international aged grade tournaments.
“As at 2013 when he was reserve goalkeeper to Dele Alampasu, my physical growth was actually very little and as a matter of fact, Dele was taller than me but few years later my physical growth was rapid which is now a huge advantage for me to when I’m between the sticks as it enables me to cover the range as much as possible,” he explained.
The recuperating goalkeeper was even third choice keeper at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup won by Nigeria. His football career hit the pinnacle when the Franco/German tactician, Rohr, preferred him as the best replacement for Carl Ikeme to the World Cup finals where Nigeria finished third in the group behind Croatia and Argentina.
“It’s very embarrassing when your fellow country men make slanting remark to a man defending the honour of the nation.
“I did my best worked for the team and very proud of all the players to the tournament but most critics thing my best wasn’t enough and was part of the reason why the age issue came up.
“No grudge anyway because football is life to us in this part of the world and I can understand the frustration and emotion of teeming Nigerian football fans as well,” he remarked on Super Eagles’ Instagram live interview.
Uzoho however regained his number one choice when the coach picked him for the classification match against Tunisia which Nigeria won to win bronze medal at the last AFCON finals in Egypt.
His brilliant show in the international friendly match against Brazil last October was the last outing for the national team following a career threatening injury in the match and he is expected to be back to action soon.
On his club career, the 22 year old said he will return to Deportivo La Coruna at the end of his loan spell with Omonia Nicosia.