Keshi lauds Austin Ejide’s professionalism

The national team coach says that the Hapoel Be'er Sheva goalkeeper will have an opportunity to stake a claim to the number spot against South Africa next month

Hapoel Be’er Sheva goalkeeper Austin Ejide has been praised by Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi for his professional attitude on and off the field of play.

The coach who has been with the national team for almost two years hailed the professional conduct of the Israel-based goalkeeper and has tipped him to man the post in the Nelson Mandela Challenge against South Africa on August 14.

Ejide has been deputy to number one Vincent Enyeama in the national team for more than a decade. He has made 25 appearances for Nigeria since making his debut in 2001.

The 29-year-old enjoyed his most extensive run in the side during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations where he was in goal in all four matches that the team played.

“One good thing about Ejide is that he is just a professional person. I remember his wedding was initially fixed for June this year but he moved the wedding to July because of the Fifa Confederations Cup and World Cup qualifiers. So how patriotic can a player be again,” Keshi said.

He also explained the reason for excluding stand in captain Enyeama from the squad that will play against Bafana Bafana next month.

“I wanted to have Ejide fill the goal post. He has been working very hard but Vincent Enyeama is my number one choice goalkeeper. But I need Enyeama more in the match against Malawi on the 5th of September. So I told Ejide to go out there and prove yourself and also get ready should anything happen.

“That is the reason and there is no other reason why Enyeama was not included,” said Keshi.