Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has reignited his interest in Swiss-born goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe as he broadens his search for a top-class keeper for the Super Eagles.
Rohr was forced to make a rookie keeper Francis Uzoho his first choice at the Russia 2018 World Cup, after his number one man Carl Ikeme was ruled out of the tournament after he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July last year.
The 32-year-old British-born former Wolves keeper eventually announced his retirement from football last month.
And Rohr, who has since offered Ikeme a role in his coaching staff to assist him in the goalkeeping department, has reportedly pencilled in SC Kriens star Osigwe, who last year expressed his interest in representing Nigeria at Russia 2018, as one keeper who could compete with Uzoho for the number one role.
Despite plying his trade in the backwaters of European football, the 65-year-old former Nice manager reckons Osigwe, who was born to a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother, as a good keeper.
The former Burkina Faso coach reportedly considered inviting the 24-year-old for some of his World Cup friendlies.
Rohr, who had earlier succeeded in convincing Europe-born Nigerians, such as new Benfica right-back Tyronne Ebuehi, Lokomotiv Moscow left-back Bryan Idowu and Torino defender Ola Aina to switch their international allegiance to the country of their fathers, has repeatedly promised to give more Nigerian- born players abroad an opportunity to play for the Eagles.
Our correspondent learnt that the former Gabon manager allegedly lacks faith in Enyimba’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Chippa United’s Daniel Akpeyi, though they made his World Cup squad.
Ezenwa was favourite to take over from Ikeme after he showed his class in the World Cup qualifying double-header against African champions Cameroon.
But the 29-year-old former Ocean Boys keeper lost his place after Elche loanee Uzoho showed glimpses of his quality when he replaced fumbling Akpeyi in the 4–2 defeat of Argentina in a friendly affair in November last year.
Rohr confirmed to our correspondent in Lagos on Friday that Switzerland junior international Osigwe was one of the keepers he was monitoring.
“Uzoho is our number one keeper and we have Ezenwa and Akpeyi but we are monitoring more keepers,” he said.
“We are monitoring the keeper in Switzerland (Osigwe) and some other young keepers.”
He added, “Uzoho is a good young keeper and people have said a lot of positive things about him.
“I’m happy that he has left Deportivo La Coruna for Elche.”
Meanwhile, the Seychelles Football Federation has confirmed that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the Pirates and Super Eagles will take place on September 8 instead of September 7.
SFF General Secretary Georges Bibi told the NFF that the match would be played at Stade Linite in Victoria, starting from 4.30pm Seychelles time (1.30pm Nigeria time).