Former Vice President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Shehu Dikko, has explained why Stanley Nwabali struggled to secure a spot in the Super Eagles team under Gernot Rohr’s leadership.
Nwabali has recently emerged as a standout player in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast, impressing with his exceptional performances that have propelled the Super Eagles to the final against the host country this Sunday.
Despite Nwabali’s recent success, Dikko revealed that he had been under the national team’s radar for some time. In June 2019, during the NPFL Super Six in Lagos while playing for Enyimba FC, Rohr was invited to watch Nwabali as a potential successor or competitor to Uzoho. However, a misunderstanding arose when Nwabali’s club GM informed him of Rohr’s presence, causing the young goalkeeper to feel anxious.
Nevertheless, Nwabali’s talent was evident as he made significant contributions, earning a spot in the NPFL Allstar team in 2022 and showcasing his skills in matches against renowned players like John Terry and Roberto Carlos.
In the recent AFCON semi-final against South Africa, Nwabali’s stellar performance included crucial saves during regular play and two penalty stops in the shootout, ultimately securing the Eagles’ place in the final.
Nwabali’s impressive display earned him the Man of the Match award, solidifying his position as a key player for the Super Eagles. With just two goals conceded in the AFCON so far, Nigerian fans are optimistic about his continued success as the team faces Ivory Coast in the final on Sunday.