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Rohr searches for top-class keeper for World Cup

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is considering his options as he looks to arrive  at the Russia  2018 World Cup with a top-class goalkeeper.

The Super Eagles were plunged into a goalkeeping crisis after the team’s   first choice keeper  Carl Ikeme  was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July.

And it is believed that   Ikeme, who is currently undergoing treatment,  has a remote chance  of playing in Russia.

Rohr  opted for South Africa-based Daniel  Akpeyi  for the  2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in Uyo on  June 10, but the Chippa United keeper’s choice backfired as Nigeria succumbed to a humiliating 2-0 defeat by Bafana Bafana.

The German manager  decided to ditch Akpeyi for IfeanyiUbah custodian Ikechukwu Ezenwa for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against African champions  Cameroon – and the domestic star kept a clean sheet  as the Eagles  pounded their fierce rivals 4-0 in Uyo before battling to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in Yaoundé.

Despite Ezenwa progressing to pull off some excellent saves to help Nigeria beat Zambia  1-0 in Uyo  on October 7 to  qualify for their sixth World Cup, our correspondent learnt that Rohr is not convinced that  the 29-year-old is good enough for a starting role  at  the football’s showpiece event in Russia.

The former Gabon coach has reportedly set a semifinal target for  his team  in Russia and he believes he  needs a top-class keeper to achieve the goal.

It was learnt  that  it  was   one major reason why Rohr  decided to revive his pursuit of veteran France-based keeper Vincent Enyeama.

The former Burkina Faso coach ran into a roadblock when he tried to persuade the 35-year-old  ex-Nigeria captain, who represented the country at the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups,  to come out of international retirement to help the country qualify for the Russia finals.

With Lille star Enyeama, who called it quits with the Eagles in October 2015  after a major falling out with  ex-Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh,  allegedly  evasive about his return to  the national team, Rohr has decided to shift his attention towards Girona  teenage keeper Francis Uzoho.

UAE 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup winner Uzoho made history as the first  foreign teenage keeper to play in the Spanish La Liga after keeping a clean sheet to  help  Girona secure  a point in their 0-0 draw against Eibar on October 15.

Nigeria goalkeeping coach Alloy Agu  confirmed on Tuesday that they are keeping a tab on 18-year-old Uzoho.