17 June 2018

Nigeria: Is Nigerian Goalkeeper the 'Oldest 19-Year-Old'? Be the Judge

Nigeria's goalkeeper at the ongoing Fifa World Cup in Russia, Francis Odinaka Uzoho, has become the butt on jokes on social media for his 'young' age.

Football fans trolled Uzoho, whose official age is 19 years, although in the eyes of the online community he looks 'much older'.

Uzoho, who plays for Spanish La Liga side Deportivo de La Coruña, kept goal for the Super Eagles in their opening World Cup fixture against Croatia on Saturday night, a match the Nigerians lost 2-0.

According to his bio, Uzoho was born on October 28, 1998 and started his football career as a forward in a Qatari football academy before being converted to a goalkeeper at the age of 11/12.

At the age of 14, Uzoho was part of the team that won the 2013 Fifa Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

On October 15, 2017, the 18-year-old he made his debut for Deportivo against Eibar, becoming the youngest foreign goalkeeper in the Spanish First Division.


Cases of age cheating have been rampant across Africa with Nigeria more than often being caught up with such scandals.

In 2016, Nigeria's 2015 Fifa U-17 World Cup-winning squad had almost half of their 60 tested players reportedly failed a mandatory MRI screening that establishes squad members' ages.

According to Samm Audu of Africanfootball.com 26 players were deemed ineligible to play as a result of the tests, and only two of their starting XI remained available to play a home clash with Niger.

On social, the online community delivered its unanimous verdict on Uzoho, in as far ass his age is concerned. Here are some of their views:

Meet the "19 year-old teenager" who is Nigeria's #WorldCup Goalkeeper!

I think I'm 7 years old right now! 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/QeHiF6HJXh

-- Ciku 🇰🇪 (@Ciku_Muriithi) June 17, 2018

Uzoho is the oldest looking 19 year old I've ever seen

-- kenna (@kennagq) June 16, 2018

Nigeria have the youngest squad at the World Cup,

Francis Uzoho is the youngest GK at the World Cup 🏆 someone that was 18 in 2004 is 19 in 2018 #ThisIsNigeria

-- Cynthia_Chioma_Okeke (@CynthiaChiomaO2) June 7, 2018

Record: 19 year old #Nga goalkeeper Francis Uzoho becomes the youngest goalkeeper to play at the 2018 #WorldCup, as he starts for Nigeria vs #cro. #cronga pic.twitter.com/vxxSuh59hc

-- Babalola Oladapo (@Emperor_derek) June 16, 2018

So Nigeria's keeper is 19 years old. My first question is why is Enyeama not starting??? He's on the opposite spectrum age wise but is Uzoho the better option???

-- Zweniel🍟@McDonalds (@ZwebackHD) June 16, 2018

Thierry Henry at 19 and Francis Odinaka Uzoho at 19. In Africa we eat good food ama aje @shyolympia pic.twitter.com/HzKMAK4RoE

-- Philip Etale (@EtalePhilip) June 16, 2018

Uzoho is 19?... .somebody that finish secondary school in 2004?..

-- Chubby_candi (@chubby_candi) June 7, 2018

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