Ex-Flying Eagles star defends GK Francis Uzoho amidst criticism following disappointing World Cup qualifiers

The Omonia Nicosia goalkeeper has come under severe criticism after a string of unimpressive displays for the national team

In the aftermath of Sunday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Zimbabwe in Rwanda, former Nigeria youth international Emeka Amadi has stepped forward to shield Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho from criticism regarding Zimbabwe’s goal, reports.

Uzoho, who has faced scrutiny in the past, found himself under the spotlight once again after conceding from a long-range free-kick in the first half.

Kelechi Iheanacho equalised for Nigeria in the second half to earn the Super Eagles a share of the spoils.

Nigeria came close to losing the game, though, when goalkeeper Uzoho made a near-mess of a cross late in the game, but his mistake went unpunished.

Still, former FC Oberneuland goalkeeper Amadi has firmly absolved Uzoho of any blame in the disappointing draw.

In a chat on Brila FM, the 1989 FIFA U-20 World Cup silver medal winner defended Uzoho’s performance, asserting that the free-kick that led to Zimbabwe’s goal was perfectly executed.

Amadi explained, “It is not the fault of Francis Uzoho; the free-kick was well taken. The effort came from a place where no goalkeeper can save it; the ball swerved from in to out, making it hard for a keeper to make a save. So, for me, that ball can beat any goalkeeper.”

The Super Eagles, after two matches in the World Cup qualifiers, currently have only two points to sit second in Group C behind South Africa.

Nigeria’s next match in the qualifiers is a crucial home game against South Africa in June 2024.

A win for South Africa, currently on three points, would propel them to four points ahead of the Eagles in the group standings.

The pressure intensifies as Nigeria strive to secure vital points in their quest for a spot in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.