Veteran shot-stopper, Dele Aiyenugba believes it is too late to have a home-based goalkeeper as Super Eagles of Nigeria number-one at the next AFCON.
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournament gets underway in January 2024 with Nigeria as one of the 24 participating countries.
The Super Eagles pre-AFCON preparations have been headlined by search for a goalkeeper to replace error-prone Omonia Nicosia’s Francis Uzoho.
When asked if it is possible for Super Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro to trust one of the Nigeria Premier Football League goalkeepers as first-choice for the AFCON in Ivory Coast, Dele Aiyenugba who made his national team bow as a hom-based player said it too late.
According to Aiyenugba who now plays for Kwara United FC, the goalkeepers will need enough games tobuild their confidence ahead of the Cup of Nations.
“The thing is that during our time, we were given the chance early to build our confidence, ” Aiyenugba is quoted by Punch.
“We had the home-based national team side then and we played several friendly matches.
“So, you start to gain confidence from there and you start to understand that it is different from the club side.
“For me, it’s kind of late to do that. The Nations Cup is barely a month and half away.
“So, how do you groom a goalkeeper for that kind of assignment within that time?
“You keep inviting them (home-based keepers) and not trying them and you need a new goalkeeper.
“How many friendlies can they play now? So, I don’t know how they will do that”, he explained.