AFCONQ: Gernot Rohr set to axe Ikechukwu Ezenwa from Super Eagles squad

Ikechukwu Ezenwa is set to be axed from Super Eagles squad for next month’s African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa from Super Eagles squad

Ikechukwu Ezenwa is set to be axed from Super Eagles squad for next month’s African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho.

Ezenwa has struggled for form this season and has conceded 11 goals in 6 appearances for his club Heartland FC in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

The shot-stopper was dropped by Heartland coach Fidelis Ilechukwu for the past two leagues games against FC Ifeanyi Ubah and MFM FC.

Interestingly, while Ezenwa is struggling, his rivals in the national team, Maduka Okoye, Daniel Akpeyi and Francis Uzoho are waxing stronger with their respective clubs.

In a chat with brila.net on his assessment of the goalkeepers ahead of the qualifiers, Rohr stated that he’s willing to move forward with Okoye, Uzoho and Akpeyi in the team.

“Ezenwa (Ikechukwu) unfortunately did not play the last two matches with Heartland, we’ll see and there’s still Akpeyi (Daniel) he’s doing very well with his club in South Africa.

“The future is the two young goalkeepers plus Akpeyi and we’ll see if the local one can come also. We do not have a big problem with this position,” Rohr was quoted as saying on Lagos-based Brila FM.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.