Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Russia 2018 qualifier against Cameroon cemented my place in Eagles, says Ezenwa


Super Eagles Goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, has described his performance in Nigeria’s 4-0 defeat of Cameroon in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier in Uyo as the game that cemented his position in the national team under Gernot Rohr.

Ezenwa kept a clean sheet in game and went on to perform creditably in the reverse fixture, which ended 1-1 in Yaoundé.

The Heartland of Owerri captain said Rohr and the entire Super Eagles team encouraged him before the matches, adding that he knew after the games that he was in the team to stay.

He disagreed with those who castigate Rohr for neglecting home-based players, arguing that the German encouraged Nigeria-based stars to work hard on their game.

“The game against Cameroun in Uyo was tough and most people rated Cameroun as favourite to win it, but we showed why we are among the best teams in Africa.

“I went all out to give my best. After the 4-0 victory, Rohr came to congratulate me. He said he enjoyed my performance. The success in that game gave me the Super Eagles role. From then, I have been working hard to improve on my game.

“As a home-based player, what Rohr wants from you is to give him what he expects at any given opportunity. If you don’t satisfy him, that is the end.

“If I did not use my first chance well when I had the opportunity in the 2018 World Cup qualifier, I would not have been in the Super Eagles team today. These are lessons domestic players must take note of. They should make good use of any opportunity given to them when invited to the national team camp. Nigeria has quality players in the NPFL that can play in the Super Eagles,” he said.

Ezenwa also disclosed that he has been in Rohr’s good books through self-discipline in camp, adding, “It is good as a player to study your coach and keep to his philosophy and rules. Know how he wants things to be done in camp and do that. Rohr does not discriminate against domestic players.”