Nigeria Lack Quality Goalkeepers - Etta Egbe

A former international and national U-23 goalkeeper coach, Etta Egbe has declared that Nigeria is suffering from lack of talented goaltenders. In an exclusive interview with Trust Sports , the technical director of Calabar Rovers said in his days, they were so talented that it required little efforts and time by coaches to take them to the peak. He also spoke on life in the Green Eagles and Nigerian football in general.
"Today, we have very serious problems in the goalkeeping department of organized football in Nigeria. This is because a lot of goalkeepers today are trading on borrowed profession. They are not naturally gifted. In our time, the coaches only built on our talents. It did not take them time to take us to our peak. But presently, what we have are goal protectors, goal-stoppers, not goalkeepers. It is a tight and difficult situation." Etta Egbe  said.
Even though they failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 in Egypt, Etta Egbe led goalkeeping department didn't disappoint at the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

"Now that we have the opportunity to be in the national teams, we are doing our best to encourage the few that are making better progress. I am delving deep with the U-23 team. The three goalkeepers we have there are indigenous. If I had gone for foreign goalkeepers, it would have meant that I did not merit holding the appointment. My duty is to build players from the grassroots. Why should I look for foreign goalkeepers when I can groom better ones from home? The three keepers I travelled with to Egypt did creditably well. The one from Gombe United, Adamu, is very good and ripe even for the Super Eagles." He declared.
Egbe who spent over a decade as a National team material in the 80s also added that many find it difficult to become foreign exports because of their inferior qualities.
"Foreign teams and coaches don't usually like to spend on goalkeepers. They like keepers to spend longer time. They prefer to spend frequently on midfielders, attackers etc since the essence is to score goals for their clubs. Goalkeeping is a special position. No white coach will want to toy with his goalkeeper." While also suggesting the way forward.

"The proper thing to do is to have a standard home based team that will serve as a reservoir for the national team. Inviting too many foreign based players is not helping our local league, even local players themselves. He concluded.

It must be added that Super Eagles haven't had a stable pair of hands to rely upon since the retirement of Vincent Enyeama few years ago with Carl Ikeme, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi, Maduka Okoye, Dele Alampasu, Dele Ajiboye and Theophilus Afelokhai all engaged at a point.

By Olamide Oyetunji

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