Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Super Eagles’ Nwabali wants to show home fans what he can do

'I am looking forward to it if I have the opportunity,' Nwabali told NFF TV

Chippa United and Nigeria goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali says he can’t wait to play in front of his own supporters when the Super Eagles take on Bafana Bafana in a 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Friday.

Nwabali was a surprise number one choice for Nigeria at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, and the Chilli Boyz shot-stopped excelled as the Super Eagles made it all the way to the final, where they were edged out by the host nation Ivory Coast.

Jose Peseiro has since left the head coach role, with Super Eagles legend Finidi George taking over, and it remans to be seen if George goes with Nwabali against Bafana on Friday.

Nwabali faces stiff competition from Udinese’s Maduka Okoye, who was previously the Super Eagles’ number one, and is coming off the back of a good second half of the season in Italy’s Serie A.

“The World Cup qualifiers have come and we must put all our attention to it. The games afford us another motivation to play for our nation. I’m excited to have an opportunity to play in front of our fans. I am looking forward to it if I have the opportunity,” Nwabali told NFF TV, according to Nigeria’s The Nation newspaper.

“There is no pressure. We will just take the game one at a time. We just have to put our thoughts together and go for a win against South Africa and approach the next game with Benin Republic in similar way,” he said. “To play at the World Cup will definitely boost my CV.

“I am not under pressure because of the presence Maduka Okoye and Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba’s Olorunleke is the other goalkeeper in the Super Eagles squad). I have watched both goalkeepers. They are good and we are in the Eagles to help our nation. This is my first time working with Maduka Okoye.”

‘There’s no debate’

Nwabali also said earlier this week that he will not mind at all if Okoye replaces him in goal against Bafana.

“There’s no debate. If Maduka can give what he’s giving Udinese to the country, then he should play,” Nwabali told Lagos Talks, according to Nigeria’s Punch Newspaper.

“It’s not like a club side, where you see a new signing and you talk about fighting, No. This is country we are playing for, we are representing this green white green, and we want to see everyone happy.”