Rohr may be forced to call up Aiyenugba after his superlative performances in the Israeli league

RUMOURS that former Super Eagles goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba will be recalled to the squad ahead of this summer's World Cup have grown over the last few weeks following the shot stopper's superlative performances for his Israeli clubside Hapoel Ashkelon.


Aiyenugba, 34, has not manned goal for Nigeria for the last six years, last being invited to camp during the 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers. He was largely and rather unfairly blamed for a 2-2 draw at home with Guinea in 2011, which meant Nigeria failed to qualify for the Nations Cup.


However, with the World Cup looming and Nigeria facing a goalkeeping crisis, head coach Gernot Rohr may be forced to recall Aiyenugba. If the three goalkeepers the coach is currently using, only Deportivo La Coruna's Francis Uzoho is showing any consistency, with the other two Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, proving to be highly unreliable.


Over the weekend, Aiyenugba was rated highly for Hapoel Ashkelon in their 2-0 win over Bnei Sakhnin in the relegation play-offs of the Israeli league. Match commentators regarded him as partly the reason why his team were able to snatch that all important win to ease their relegation worries.


Aiyenugba has been ever present for the modest Israeli side he joined two years ago after spending close to eight years at Bnei Yehuda. This season he has kept goal in 26 games, clearly on track to equal or exceed his last season's appearance tally of 33.


There has been talks about a possible return to the senior national team of Nigeria due to the goalkeeper’s issue currently rocking the team ahead of their World Cup campaign.


So far, coach Rohr has been talking about placing his trust in young players but of his three goalkeepers, only Uzoho is young. Ezenwa is 29 and Akpeyi is 31, with neither of them representing the future.


With the likes of Vincent Enyeama and Carl Ikeme not available, Rohr may be forced to call up Aiyenugba as back-up to Uzoho. Other young goalkeepers like Dele Alampasu and Dele Ajiboye may also be looked at with one of them taking along as the number three behind Uzoho and Aiyenugba.


Meanwhile, Nigeria is likely to play its May 27 friendly game against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Rivers State capital Port Harcourt. Abuja was previously considered but the sports ministry is requesting N70m to fix the out-of-service Abuja National Stadium and with this unlikely to be forthcoming the venue of the match will have to be moved.