Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho speaking exclusively to www.aclsports.com says he is “caught up in something bigger than me and I am not sure how I can handle it” in the Health certificate scandal in Cyprus.
Uzoho joined Anorthosis Famagusta on Deadline Day of the January transfer window and featured in the fixture against Apollon Limassol 24 hours after his arrival in Cyprus – keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory.
After the fixture, Limassol filed a protest questioning the validity of the Nigeria Super Eagles World Cup keeper’s Health Certificate. Uzoho – the protest said – arrived Cyprus at 16.05 local time and the KOA, where the certificate would have been issued, closed at 14.30.
The protest was upheld, the result of that fixture was overturned in favour of Limassol and Famagusta were docked a further 6 points. The Police were called in with the Nigerian fined 1000 Euros and given a one-match ban.
“I actually asked for the loan move (from Deportivo La Coruna) so I can be playing more regularly and be very ready for the AFCON. I arrived with good expectations and in that first match I showed my qualities.
Now I am experiencing a situation that has nothing to do with me. I played a game and then the next thing I am hearing things about documents and getting Police invitations. In my very short career I have never experienced anything like this. I am totally confused”.
Uzoho kept in all of Nigeria’s 3 matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where he experienced the agony of the last minute ouster by Argentina in the final group game. “For many days after that match I was too down to even think of football. We were so close to qualification and I still remember the action that led to that Argentina winning goal.
I knew how much it would have meant to Nigerians and to the team as whole if we had gone beyond Argentina and that group stage but it was not to be”.
That experience of the World Cup, Uzoho believes, improved him greatly going into this season. Now this situation in Cyprus seems to be shattering every plan he had of being ready for AFCON 2019
“I want Nigerians to know that I have not done anything wrong personally and I would appreciate their support at this point. This has nothing to do with me in anyway but I believe that God will see me through it all”
The fine has been paid and a one-match ban served by Uzoho but our source in Cyprus fear that this might not be the end of the case for the young goalkeeper.
“If Famagusta apply to the authorities to get a new card for Francis (Uzoho) it will reopen the case and there will be further questions on how the initial card was procured” she said. What does this mean?
“Brutally put, Famagusta might have to sacrifice the career of the Nigerian rather than risk reopening the case”.
Uzoho is confident this will be sorted and he will be back keeping goal for Famagusta this season.