Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr faces a tough decision over which goalkeeper to select for the Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup Group B qualifier against Algeria’s Desert Foxes in Uyo on Saturday.
First-choice keeper Carl Ikeme has been ruled out of the encounter after the 30-year-old sustained a hip injury while playing for his club Wolverhampton Wanderers against Blackburn in their English Championship clash at Ewood Park on October 29.
And Rohr invited South Africa-based keeper Daniel Akpeyi to take his place in the squad for the Uyo clash. Portugal-based Dele Alampasu and IfeanyiUbah’s Ikechukuwu Ezenwa are the other keepers in the squad.
Our correspondent learnt on Wednesday that Rohr had yet to decide the keeper who will get the nod on Saturday.
Although 19-year-old Cesarense shot-stopper Alampasu is responding well to Nigeria’s goalkeeping coach Alloy Agu’s methods during training, Rohr, according to sources close to the Eagles, is afraid to gamble on youth for a crucial fixture with the star-studded Algerian side.
The German manager is said to have asked Agu to focus his attention on Ezenwa, but his assistant (Agu) is said to be favourably disposed towards Chippa United custodian Akpeyi against the Desert Foxes.
Tunisia ’94 Africa Cup of Nations winner Agu, who told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday that Ikeme would be missed in the qualifier, confirmed the coaching staff had yet to make up their mind on the keeper to start the game.
Meanwhile, the Eagles on Wednesday concluded their preparations for the game at the Abuja Stadium ahead of their trip to Uyo.
Rohr put his players through their paces for the final time with all players involved. Punch