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The young shot-stoppers have been handed invitation to the national team for the upcoming friendlies ahead of more experienced players

Nigeria national team goalkeeper coach Alloy Agu has defended the call-up of Ventspils’ Dele Alampasu and SKF Sered‘s Mattew Yakubu to the Super Eagles.

The goalies were handed invitations to the national team for the upcoming friendlies against African champions Algeria and Tunisia.

Sparta Rotterdam’s Maduka Okoye is also included in the list while regulars, South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Enyimba’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa and APOEL Nicosia’s Francis Uzoho were left out.

Ezenwa has been inactive since the outbreak of coronavirus which forced the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) into a hiatus.

Akpeyi, meanwhile, has also not played a competitive game for Kaizer Chiefs since the 2019-20 season ended and he is still recuperating from an injury.

Uzoho only recently recovered from a cruciate ligament and he is yet to feature for APOEL Nicosia since joining the side in July.  

Agu explains the invited goalkeepers for the friendlies, on the other hand, have been playing consistently for their respective clubs.

“In Europe, there have been competitions and games going on, while the NPFL is yet to commence due to coronavirus, Agu told the Punch.

“Same with the Premier Soccer League in South Africa where Daniel Akpeyi plays, the league has just ended.

“Uzoho as well is just returning to full fitness after a long injury lay off and we are watching him. He still needs some time to get back into shape and we are watching him. Definitely, he is still part of the team.

“Alampasu and Yakub have been active for their respective teams and that earned them places in the team.”

Nigeria have lined up the friendlies as part of their preparation for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game against Sierra Leone in November.

The Super Eagles lead Group L with six points following victories over the Republic of Benin and Lesotho in November 2019.

The three-time African champions finished third in the last edition of the continental showpiece in Egypt, behind champions Algeria and Senegal.

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September 28, 2020
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