Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo, has urged Nigerians to be patient with goalkeepers, Francis Uzoho and Maduka Okoye following Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Uzoho and Okoye have been under scrutiny following their recent unimpressive displays for the Super Eagles.
Recall that Uzoho was Nigeria’s first-choice during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, while Okoye was the number goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cameroon earlier this year.
But both goalkeepers seen recent individual errors stopped the Super Eagles’ progress at two major competitions.
Okoye fumbled a long-range shot from Tunisia player, Youssef Msakni, the only goal that knocked Nigeria out of 2021 AFCON, while Uzoho allowed a speculative Thomas Partey shot to go under him last month as the Black Stars of Ghana beat the Super Eagles in a World Cup playoff to qualify for Qatar.
Both goalkeepers have come under attack from a section of Super Eagles’ supporters on social media for their costly errors.
And Ighalo believes the pair are young boys and will grow.
“I felt sad about all the abuse [directed at Okoye and Uzoho],” Ighalo told ESPN.
“I know Nigerians always want to win, but these are young boys.
“One mistake is not the end of the world. People tend to forget that footballers are humans too. We cannot destroy the confidence of these boys because of one mistake.
“Okoye is a good goalkeeper. Uzoho is a good goalkeeper and they will grow and learn from this experience. But they need support.”