Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick has rejected calls for Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr to include veteran goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama in his plans for the Russia 2018 World Cup.
The Super Eagles will make their sixth appearance in the football showpiece in the June 14-July 15 tournament, and the three-time African champions have been facing goalkeeping crisis after their choice keeper Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia last year.
The development sparked calls for out-of-favour Lille shot-stopper Enyeama to come out of international retirement to help Nigeria at the World Cup.
Former Gabon manager Rohr has kept faith with young Deportivo La Coruna keeper Francis Uzoho, Enyimba star Ikechukwu Ezenwa and much-vilified Chippa United custodian Daniel Akpeyi, inviting the trio for the country’s pre-World Cup fixtures against Poland on March 23 in Wroclaw and Serbia in London four days later.
However, the German has been labouring to persuade 2003 CAF Champions League winner Enyeama to return to the national team as pressure continues to mount on him to go to Russia with an experienced keeper.
Pinnick said on Thursday Rohr would decide if he wants the France-based keeper, who has yet to feature for Les Dogues since he returned from a knee injury five months ago.
The 35-year-old, who represented Nigeria at the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, has been limited to turning out for Lille’s B team.
“All the other goalkeepers deserve to be in posts (for the World Cup), (Francis) Uzoho, for one, is doing well,” SCORENigeria quoted the NFF boss as saying in a television interview on Thursday.
“This could well be the big break for one of the other goalkeepers.
“But in the end it’s Rohr’s call to invite Enyeama, it’s his own responsibility.”
He said goalkeeping coach Alloy Agu would be in South Africa to train Akpeyi.
“Alloy Agu is on his way to train Akpeyi at Chippa United,” Pinnick said.
“The other trainer (Pionetti) is in Spain with Uzoho on special permission of his club.