Super Eagles goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali is on the verge of becoming the first Nigerian goalkeeper to record five successive clean sheets in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Stanley Nwabali who is contracted to South African club, Chippa United wasn’t expected to be the Super Eagles’ first-choice goalkeeper at the 2023 AFCON, but the criticism directed to Francis Uzoho by Nigerian football enthusiasts forced coach Jose Peseiro to settle for Nwabali.
Interestingly, the 27-year-old Nwabali has been extremely outstanding that he is almost Indispensable in the Super Eagles squad.
So far in the 2023 AFCON, the former Enyimba of Aba goalkeeper has kept four clean sheets in five games. He has conceded just a goal so far in the tournament.
The only Nigerian goalkeeper who has ever had such a run was Best Ogedegbe. The legendary goalkeeper became the first Nigerian goalkeeper to keep four successive clean sheets in five games 44 years ago.
Ogedegbe achieved this feat during the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations which Nigeria went on to win in style by defeating Algeria 3-0 in the final.
The late goalkeeper kept two consecutive clean sheets against Ivory Coast and Egypt in the group stage after conceding once in their 3-1 triumph against Tanzania in their opening game.
He again blanked Morocco in the semifinals and then finished the job in the final against Algeria.
Stanley Nwabali has now equaled that record in the 2023 AFCON as Super Eagles recorded a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea, a 1-0 win over Ivory Coast, a 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, a 2-0 win over Cameroon, and then 1-0 win over Angola on Friday, February 2.
If Nwabali manage to maintain his form against either South Africa or Cape Verde in the semi-finals on February 7, he will become the first Nigerian goalkeeper to keep five successive clean sheets in AFCON.
Note that during Ogedegbe’s era, there was no quarter-final round which prevented him from having more than four clean sheets in a row after the opening game.
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