Ahead of Nigeria’s crucial match against Lesotho in the FIFA World Cup qualifier, defender Kenneth Omeruo has weighed in on the situation involving goalkeepers Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho.
Omeruo didn’t shy away from placing blame squarely on the media and Nigerians for the struggles of both goalkeepers in the team.
Omeruo speaks on Uzoho
Uzoho and Maduka have come under heavy criticism from Nigerians and the media following their underwhelming performances for the Super Eagles.
First choice goalkeeper, Uzoho, has been in the eye of the storm recently following high-profile errors in matches against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique last month.
His teammate, Okoye, has been in and out of the team following widespread criticism he received in the AFCON 2021.
With a sombre countenance, former AFCON winner, Omeruo, expressed concern about the impact of the relentless criticisms directed towards the goalkeepers, especially, Uzoho.
“We as players are behind him (Uzoho) because he is the best goalkeeper we have,” Omeruo stated in a video from photojournalist, OgaNla.
“Several people will disagree with me because of one or two mistakes. But let’s not forget the best games he has played for us, too.
“I see (the) posts, sometimes the media doesn’t help issues. For example, you will post and ask people what they think. I remember before Maduka joined the team, the media pushed for his invitation and when he finally arrived, he made one mistake which was not really a mistake but the way he was killed, even getting to his relationship.”
Despite the heavy criticism, the Turkey-based defender is a fan of how Uzoho has handled the whole situation.
VIDEO: Kenneth Omeruo speaks on Francis Uzoho and Maduka Okoye criticism:
“Media no dey help issue.”
“E no easy to keep for Nigeria. Uzoho get mind, if not, e for don run.”
— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) November 15, 2023
Omeruo added that apart from how discouraging it can be, Nigerians need to support the players, especially the goalkeepers as it’s not easy to be in that position for the Super Eagles.
“It’s discouraging (the extreme criticism), we need Nigerians to stay behind us, especially the goalkeepers because it’s not easy being a Super Eagles goalkeeper,” he added.
Raphael Onyedika (r) and Keneth Omeruo in Super Eagles training
“I am not a goalkeeper but I know the kind of pressure they are under to perform.
“I also like how he has handled the situation because he has a strong mentality if not he would have run away from the team. So, like the coach said, we are behind him.”