Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has expressed hope of playing for a bigger club in Europe as he aims to become one of the greatest African goalkeepers.
The Nigeria international, who is currently on loan to Cypriot side Omonia from Spanish Segunda club Deportivo de La Coruna, believes a move to a top team will help him achieve his dream.
“Everything needs to be earned, nothing is given to anybody. I have to work hard for it (becoming one of the greatest African goalkeepers). I have to give it my best; I have to make the right decision. Most importantly I have to work every day and try to follow the example of those that have played in the top flight in Europe,” he told Sports Zone, a sports program on Lagos Talks.
“So do I have a plan to be there, Yes. I have a plan and I‘m working. The most important thing also is to play. Because of my age, if I don’t play football now, I don’t think I have a chance of being there. So at the moment, I just need to work hard and find myself in a team that I will be playing almost every game. In that aspect I will develop my game and top teams in Europe will see me as well. And if they see me, maybe come and approach me.”
The 21-year-old however gave reasons why it has been difficult for African players to be successful in Europe.
“It is very difficult for African goalkeepers to succeed in Europe. Outfield players have the advantage, but for a goalkeeper, this is a position for just one player throughout 90 minutes. So most of the time some clubs will like to use an indigene to play in that position because in football there are rules for foreign players. So some clubs use that position to play their own indigenous players.
“It is also difficult because right from time, not so many African goalkeepers have played to the top level. So the clubs have a little bit of fear, they are not so convinced about a black goalkeeper. Even your teammates in the same club make fun of African goalkeeper. Those are the major problems goalkeepers from Africa face in Europe.”