Stanley Nwabali proves fitness against doctors advice

Stanley Nwabali proves fitness against doctors advice
Photo by Icon Sport

The most talked about issue concerning the Super Eagles is Stanley Nwabali. The Nigeria national team goalkeeper, who picked the number one spot from Francis Uzoho, is on the lips of the fans.

The Super Eagles booked their ticket for the quarter-final, where they will play against the Palancas Negras on Friday, but fans believe that Stanley Nwabali is vital to their success.

The goalkeeper picked an injury in their Round of 16 game against Cameroon, and Uzoho took his place for the remainder of the 2-0 victory.

There are fears that the Chippa United goalkeeper, who has conceded only one goal in the four games he played, will not be available for the all-important clash against Angola.

The goalkeeper is the most monitored in the Nigerian side, but mixed signals are coming from the Super Eagles camp concerning the goalkeeper.

Stanley Nwabali is at loggerheads with the team medics

Stanley Nwabali - injured against Cameroon
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles medical team have lost a few points following their handling of Real Sociedad forward Sadiq Umar.

According to the medical team, Umar would not recover in time for AFCON 2023, only for the forward to return to his club and was back in action a few days after.

It is based on this that many view their report concerning Stanley Nwabali with scepticism.

Reports from the Super Eagles camp suggest the goalkeeper will be ready for the game against Angola.

Stanley Nwabali seems to suggest that he would be ready for the Friday game and is doing everything possible to be fit. The goalkeeper told the medical team that he was not feeling much pain.

In a video released by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday, Stanley Nwabali was training with the team.

However, a member of the NFF medical team claims that he was only undergoing a fitness test, and it runs against the advice given to him following the result of the scan.

According to the report, the medical team would decide finally on the goalkeeper after their final assessment.

“What you saw in the video is a fitness test and not full training that is why he was alone. The other goalkeepers were drilled separately, so it’s wrong to say he trained fully. Our decision will be made after analysis of his condition after today’s test.”

Medical team treading cautiously on Stanley Nwabali

Stanley Nwabali - In a race against time for Angola tie
Photo by Icon Sport

The Super Eagles medical team is trying to avoid the Sadiq Umar situation and has not been categorical in their statement about the goalkeeper.

With Nigerians worried about Uzoho being in goal against Angola following his many gaffes, the medical team do not want to be the scapegoat if any negative report arises.

“Life is a learning curve and after the incident with Sadiq Umar when a player says he is fit to play and wants to play the surest thing is a fitness test. He came through today, so let’s see him again and again because the scan result didn’t help at all,” the medical team member said.

“Professionally we will do what is best because if he aggravates it then there is a tendency that he might miss the rest of the year”, he concluded.

Nigerians continue to wait with bated breath, hoping for a miracle that would see Stanley Nwabali man the posts for Nigeria against Angola.

This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.