The Super Eagles have suffered several injuries at AFCON 2023, with Stanley Nwabali, Yusuf Alhassan and William Troost-Ekong picking up knocks.
Ahead of the Super Eagles match against the Palancas Negras of Angola on Friday, there has been apprehension amongst the fans over the availability of some players for the game.
The Super Eagles have some players yet to taste action, including Kelechi Iheanacho, the captain Ahmed Musa and Chidozie Awaziem.
However, the player causing Nigerians worry now is goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali. He has continued to prove his fitness, going against the doctor's advice.
While Nigerians were worried about the goalkeeper ahead of AFCON 2023 following the below-par performance by number one goalminder Francis Uzoho, Stanley Nwabali has steadied the ship.
An injury to the Chippa United goalkeeper in the game against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon is the cause of the apprehension.
Will Stanley Nwabali start against Angola?
Since the Super Eagles triumphed over Cameroon in their first knockout stage at AFCON 2023, there have been worries over the goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, who did not finish the game following an injury.
Nigerians have renewed fate in the goal minder and believe that his presence in goal has been a positive force for the team.
Stanley Nwabali has posted three clean sheets in four matches and made several saves in the tournament. No goalkeeper has conceded fewer goals than the South Africa-based goalkeeper, but there are chances he would not be in goal against Angola on Friday.
Jose Peseiro on Stanley Nwabali’s availability vs. Angola: “We have to wait for a late fitness test today, if he is not ready, I have other goalkeepers (Uzoho and Ojo). I believe and trust all my goalkeepers. If Nwabali is not fit, I trust Uzoho.”#NGAANG #AfCON2023 pic.twitter.com/eYobetPDOe
— Bolarinwa Olajide (@iambolar) February 1, 2024
In a press conference ahead of the game, the Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro reiterated his confidence in Francis Uzoho and Olorunleke Ojo, claiming they are all competent.
“We have to wait for a late fitness test today, if he is not ready, I have other goalkeepers (Uzoho and Ojo). I believe and trust all my goalkeepers, if Nwabali is not fit, I trust Uzoho,” Peseiro said.
He insinuated that Stanley Nwabali may not be ready for the vital quarter-final clash as he battles to regain fitness.
According to the Portuguese gaffer, Stanley Nwabali is 50/50 for the tie and would need a late fitness test to confirm his readiness for the game.
Nigerians are all in prayers for the goalkeeper to be fit for the game, as Uzoho in goal might be too much for them to handle.
Stanley Nwabali in training with the other goalkeepers
When Stanley Nwabali copped the injury against Cameroon, Uzoho replaced him for the remaining 20 minutes and maintained Nigeria’s clean sheet.
Despite his efforts, Nigerians have lost confidence in him and wonder why Peseiro keeps inviting him to the Super Eagles.
During the week, Stanley Nwabali, who has taken the number one spot from Uzoho, trained separately from the rest of the squad.
Each training session by Nwabali gave Nigerians hope, stoking the belief that he would be fit enough to be in goal for the Super Eagles.
— Cosmos ChukwuEmeka (@Mrcosmos19) February 1, 2024
By Wednesday morning, he said he still felt slight pains but trained albeit alone.
During the training session on Thursday, Stanley Nwabali trained and completed the session with the other goalkeepers, Uzoho and Ojo.
No one knows if Nwabali will be in goal for now, and if Peseiro does, he has done well to keep it close to his chest.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 weeks ago