Deportivo goalkeeper Uzoho delight at Nigeria call-up
Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has paid tribute to the Spanish club after earning his maiden call-up to Nigeria’s senior squad.
Uzoho, 19, has been named in the 24-man squad to take on Algeria in a World Cup qualifier and then a friendly against Argentina this month.
“It probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been promoted to the first team at Deportivo,” he told BBC Sport.
“They’ve really helped me and hopefully I can repay the faith,” he added.
Uzoho’s national call-up comes off the back of a strong start to his Deportivo career and Nigeria’s quest for additional goalkeepers.
He became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to ever play in La Liga last month.
“I feel I owe the former manager [Pepe Mel] a lot as well and I am grateful to the players and management of the second team and senior side and I thank God for his favours,” said Uzoho.
Leicester City trio of Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa plus Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi join captain and China-based John Mikel Obi in a strong Super Eagles side.
In-form Henry Onyekuru, who has scored seven goals this season on loan at Belgian side Anderlecht from Everton, returns as part of an experienced 24-man squad named by coach Gernot Rohr.
He has also handed a maiden call-up to Norway-based Chidiebere Nwakali, who like Uzoho, won the U-17 World Cup with Nigeria in 2013.
Chelsea’s Victor Moses is still recovering from a hamstring injury, while coach Rohr will also be without injured regular left-back Elderson Echiejile and striker Odion Ighalo.
Nigeria have already qualified for next year’s finals in Russia with both Moses and Echiejile a key figure.
After facing Algeria in Constantine on 10 November, Nigeria travel to Russian city of Krasnodar for the friendly with Argentina on 14 November.