Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has insisted that there is no automatic shirt for Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper, Francis Odinaka Uzoho, in his World Cup team list.
Rohr, who recently deployed goalkeeper trainer, Pionetti Enrico to personally train Uzoho in Spain, ahead of World Cup friendly matches against Poland and Serbia next month, debunked insinuations that the step was to give the former Golden Eaglets save hands preferential attention ahead of other goalkeepers for the national team.
And there have been reports that Uzoho has been penciled down by the Franco-German coach as Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Rohr on Tuesday in a radio programme in Lagos, Megasport, ruled out the possibility of Uzoho automatically taking over the Eagles’ number one shirt without working for it, as he said the keeper is still very young and is now third choice in the roll call of shot-stoppers at Deportivo.
He further explained that similar attention will be given Portugal-based Dele Alampasu as well as the home-based duo of Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye, adding that there is no automatic shirt for any player including the goalkeepers.
He said another trainer of the national team goalkeepers and ex-international, Alloy Agu has been assigned the duty to tinker Ezenwa and Ajiboye, while Enrico will soon travel to meet Alampasu.
Nigerian fans are, however, still worried, despite the array of goalkeeping options available to Rohr, that the department remains a grey area for the tactician who has also acknowledged its lack of depth.
Recently, Rohr ruled out a return for former team captain, Vincent Enyeama, whose last top-flight action came in January 2017, and Carl Ikeme is still receiving treatments for leukaemia.
Enrico, who joined the three-time African champions six months ago, has already started working on further developing the young Uzoho ahead of the global showpiece.
Last year November, Uzoho was handed his debut in Nigeria’s friendly against Argentina in Krasnodar.
The 19-year-old kept the second half of the game as the west African side came back from a 2-1 deficit before the break to secure a 4-2 victory.
The former Golden Eaglets second choice, behinds Alampasu at UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, has kept 10 clean sheets out of 14 matches for the Deportivo B side this campaign and has also played twice in the Spanish top-flight, making his bow against Eibar on October 15.
Rohr submitted: “Uzoho is working hard, but he is only third choice keeper at La Coruna, and very young. Let’s work on all our goalkeepers.
“We will give the same attention to Alampasu, Alloy Agu will work on the local lads as well. We will work equally with all the goalkeepers we have available, even with Daniel Akpeyi in South Africa.”