Did Francis Uzoho deserve better than Elche?

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Having impressed for Nigeria, it was expected that the goalkeeper would move up the ladder, and he should've aimed higher than the Segunda

COMMENT    By Kunle Fayiga     Follow on Twitter

There was much skepticism when Francis Uzoho was thrust into the Super Eagles fold after making just two appearances for Deportivo La Coruna last term.

Initially, there were some teething problems, as Uzoho wasn't at his imposing best, but with Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa failing to impress, he retained the No. 1 shirt and started for the West African giants at the World Cup.

Nigeria v. Argentina - Uzoho

As Uzoho had more minutes on the field, he grew in confidence and his game improved so much that now it’s safe to say that he is the undisputed Nigeria number one, barring a significant decline in fortunes.

Uzoho has now been accepted as a key component of the squad, and is seen as the future of the Super Eagles despite coming under fire for his age.

Despite the improvements the youngster has been making, he was never a regular for the Deportivo senior team, but rather spent more time playing for the B team in the Spanish Segunda B Division.

He did make a good name for himself in the third tier, keeping 15 clean sheets in 26 games, but with his status as No. 1 of one of Africa's biggest nations secure, it was clear that he needed a change of situation and deserved better this summer. Francis Uzoho transfer PS

Ultimately, Uzoho moved to second-tier Elche on loan and while this represents a step up in his career, he surely could have aimed for better.

Sure, Los Franjiverdes will set sights on returning to the top flight for the first time since 2015, but it does not help Uzoho’s burgeoning reputation knowing that he is going to play lower-league football for another season.

There is also no guarantee that he will be a regular at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero, as he’ll have to battle it out with veteran Jose Juan Figueras, who kept goal in Elche’s first two league games this term, and played 43 games last season.

The move doesn't help Uzoho as it might have done, as moving to one of Europe's bigger leagues would have allowed him to test himself against some sterner opponents and some of the game's finest players. 

This opportunity might come in the Copa del Rey, but Uzoho surely needs this kind of challenge week in, week out.

Uzoho, Troost-Ekong

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This is not to say that he can’t progress at Elche.

He is still only 19, and has many years ahead of him to write his name in the history books as Vincent Enyeama did. However, if Uzoho really wants make his name beyond just the national team, he needs to look beyond the second tier and aim much higher.

If he can flourish this term, then it's imperative he pushes his agent to find a better opportunity next season.