Mallam Shehu Dikko has said that Francis Odinaka Uzoho will not be invited to Nigeria’s under-23 squad, aka Dream Team for the African U-23 Nations Cup qualifiers, in order not to saddle the youngster with a distraction.
At the age of 20, Uzoho is still qualified to play for Nigeria at the U-23 level.
The Elche of Spain goalkeeper is already Nigeria's number one in the Super Eagles, and Dikko believes it would be a demotion of a sort for the shot-stopper, who is on loan from Deportivo La Coruna of Spain, to drop one step on the international scales.
Though the likes of Sunday Oliseh, Austin Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Taribo West and Wilson Oruma played at the U-23 level even after playing for the senior national team when they won the soccer gold medal at Atlanta '96, Dikko appears ready to lead a charge against same occurring with Uzoho towards the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Uzoho, who has played five games for Elche this season in Spain's second division, returned to training on Tuesday, after getting injured three weeks ago.
He had been penned down to join the under-23 Nigerian team for the African U-23 Nations Cup qualifiers next month, but Dikko wants him to focus on the Eagles and establish himself at club level.
The Second vice-president of Nigeria Football Federation stressed: “It's a distraction that he doesn't need.“
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago