Is Nigeria’s goalkeeper the ‘oldest 19-year-old’? Be the judge
Nigeria’s goalkeeper at the ongoing Fifa World Cup in Russia, Francis Odinaka Uzoho, has become the button jokes on social media for his ‘young’ age.
Football fans trolled Uzoho, whose official age is 19 years, although in the eyes of the online community he looks ‘much older’.
Uzoho, who plays for Spanish La Liga side Deportivo de La Coruña, kept goal for the Super Eagles in their opening World Cup fixture against Croatia on Saturday night, a match the Nigerians lost 2-0.
According to his bio, Uzoho was born on October 28, 1998, and started his football career as a forward in a Qatari football academy before being converted to a goalkeeper at the age of 11/12.
At the age of 14, Uzoho was part of the team that won the 2013 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
On October 15, 2017, the 18-year-old he made his debut for Deportivo against Eibar, becoming the youngest foreign goalkeeper in the Spanish First Division.
Cases of age cheating have been rampant across Africa with Nigeria more than often being caught up with such scandals.
In 2016, Nigeria’s 2015 Fifa U-17 World Cup-winning squad had almost half of their 60 tested players reportedly failed a mandatory MRI screening that establishes squad members’ ages.
According to Samm Audu of Africanfootball.com 26 players were deemed ineligible to play as a result of the tests, and only two of their starting XI remained available to play a home clash with Niger.
On social, the online community delivered its unanimous verdict on Uzoho, in as far ass his age is concerned.
Here are some of their views: