Super Eagles Goalkeeper Trainer At AFCON Doesn’t Rate Nwabali Highly, Says 16 Caps Shot Stopper Is Better

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Stanley Nwabali was one of the success stories of the senior national team of Nigeria at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), where the team finished second after losing to the host Cote d’Ivoire by 1-2 in the final match of the tournament.

Nwabali was drafted into the team by former  head coach Jose Peseiro as a solution to the crisis that he endured in goal in the build up to the tournament. The Chippa United shot stopper didn’t disappoint as he kept goal in all of the games of the team at the tournament.

Peseiro brought in Portuguese goalkeeper trainer Nuno Carrapato to work with the shot stopper in the build up to the tournament and also at the tournament proper. The coach was his former player during his days as coach of Sporting Lisbon.

Carrapato worked with the team in their last game before the squad for the tournament was named and he picked Udinese shot stopper Maduka Okoye, who has 16 caps for the senior national for Nigeria as  the one who should be in goal at the tournament.

Even when Nwabali was scouted and called up , the coach still insist on Okoye but the now established first choice of Udinese who has now kept goal in 18 consecutive Serie A games turned his back on the team.

Okoye informed the coaches that he will like to focus on becoming the first choice of his team in Italy than go to the AFCON, where he isn’t sure of reclaiming his shirt as the first choice goalkeeper. That decision paid off and he recently declared his readiness to be back in the fold of the team for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Mohammed Mowiz Suleiman

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