Super Eagles coach, José Peseiro, has come to the defence of his shot-stopper Francis Uzoho, insisting he has faith in the 25-year-old as they prepare to face Lesotho in the World Cup qualification tie on Thursday.
Since the exit of Carl Ikeme, Nigeria’s goalkeeping department has struggled to find a suitable replacement.
South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and Maduka Okoye have been the targets of severe criticisms on social media as the latter has been harassed by online trolls over his looks to death wishes upon him and his loved ones.
It has been no different for Uzoho as his performance has come under scrutiny, especially after he conceded two free-kick goals in this match against Saudi Arabia.
However, Peseiro speaking during a media parley, insisted AC Omonia number one was the best man for the job.
“Uzoho was our goalkeeper in qualification,” he said.
“I believe in our goalkeepers and I believe in Uzoho also but I accept other opinions, including that of the media.
“I know there is too much pressure over the choice of goalkeeper here.”
Despite his faith in the goalkeeper, he maintained he would replace Uzoho if there was a better option.
“Everybody knows he made a mistake against Saudi Arabia and I spoke to him and I tried to improve his mentality,” Peseiro said.
“When a better goalkeeper than Uzoho can start the match, I will bring him on. I’m not stupid, I will play with the best players.
“I know we don’t understand the mistakes our goalkeeper makes and also the mistakes our strikers make too and this is normal in football.
“Sometimes our strikers lose chances and our midfielders make the wrong passes and sometimes our goalkeeper makes some mistakes.”
Nigeria, three-time African champions, will face the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo before locking horns with Zimbabwe on the 19th of the same month in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Super Eagles missed the last edition of the World Cup after losing out on the away goals rule to the eternal rivals Ghana in the tournament’s playoff.
In the race for the 2026 tournament, Nigeria are in Group C alongside South Africa, Rwanda, Benin, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho.