Former Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Shehu Dikko, sheds light on why Stanley Nwabali, the new Super Eagles first-choice goalkeeper, didn’t feature under former coach Gernot Rohr. Despite Nwabali’s recent stellar performances at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Dikko disclosed that the keeper had been on the national team’s radar for some time.
According to Dikko, Nwabali’s talent was evident during the NPFL Super Six in Lagos in June 2019, where he caught the attention of Rohr as a potential successor or competitor to Francis Uzoho. However, a misunderstanding arose when Nwabali’s club general manager mistakenly informed him of Rohr’s presence, causing the young goalkeeper to feel pressured. Nonetheless, Nwabali’s prowess was recognized, earning him spots in the NPFL Allstar team in 2022 and the home-based Super Eagles match against Mexico in the USA.
Nwabali’s exceptional performance in the AFCON, including saving two penalty kicks against South Africa, has solidified his status as a strong contender for the tournament’s best goalkeeper. Despite having only six appearances for the Eagles and being recently called up to the national team, Nwabali’s impact has been significant, especially as he replaced Francis Uzoho as the preferred choice.
As Nigeria prepares to face Ivory Coast in the AFCON final, Nwabali aims to maintain his impressive form and contribute to the team’s success.