Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Peter Rufai has backed either of Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho and Dele Ajiboye to man the post for Nigeria at Russia 2018 only if they are taken to the jungle.
Peter Rufai who was Nigeria’s goalkeeper to two World Cups; US 1994 and France 1998 called the goalkeepers available at Gernot Rohr’s disposal good but inconsistent and inexperienced. He explained that if the goalkeepers are taken to the jungle they will be ready to make the difference in Russia.
Peter Rufai feared the inexperience of Eagles goalkeepers could cost Nigeria at Russia 2018 but with adequate exposure in terms of training and top class friendly, they would be ready for Russia 2018.
“They are good keepers but none of them has been consistent.
“Football has changed a lot and I don’t think our keepers have the experience to play at the World Cup.
“We need to take them to the jungle to toughen them, to get the best out of them, because they are going to play against some of the best players in the world.
“By taking them to the jungle, I mean we should involve them in a series of matches at club level to toughen them.
“National team matches are not enough to assess a keeper; they are few unlike club games.
“We should start now by ensuring that the keepers we have in mind for the World Cup are having rigorous training before the World Cup.
“I’m worried about the national team’s goalkeeping department but I believe we can have top-class keepers for the World Cup if we encourage them to work hard.”
Rufai said he would support any keeper picked by Rohr as his first choice in Russia, saying “they are all good keepers”.
“Any of them (Ezenwa, Akpeyi, Uzoho and Ajiboye) is good enough to be our number keeper at the World Cup,” he said.
“The coach should be allowed to decide who our first choice keeper is because he is the one in charge of the team.”