Francis Odinaka Uzoho (born 28 October 1998), known simply as Francis in Spain, is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Cypriot First Division club APOEL and the Nigeria national team.
Uzoho playing for Nigeria in a friendly match against Argentina in 2017.
|Full name||Francis Odinaka Uzoho|
|Date of birth||28 October 1998|
|Place of birth||Nwangele, Imo State, Nigeria|
|Height||1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|2017||Deportivo La Coruña|
|2017–2020||Deportivo La Coruña||2||(0)|
|2018–2019||→ Elche (loan)||7||(0)|
|2019||→ Anorthosis (loan)||3||(0)|
|2019–2020||→ Omonia (loan)||5||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:09, 13 May 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:21, 12 October 2020 (UTC)
Born in Nwangele, Uzoho joined the Senegal branch of Aspire Academy in 2013, aged 14; initially a forward, he was converted into a goalkeeper after being deemed "too slow" at the age of 12. In 2016, after impressing on a tournament in Barcelona, he joined Deportivo de La Coruña's Juvenil squad.
Age rules meant that Uzoho could only become available to sign a contract with Dépor in January 2017; shortly after signing his contract, he started to train with the first team. Promoted to the reserve team ahead of the 2017–18 season, he made his senior debut on 10 September by starting in a 3–0 Segunda División B home win against Real Madrid Castilla.
Uzoho made his first team – and La Liga – debut on 15 October 2017, starting in a 0–0 away draw against SD Eibar. At the age of 18 years and 352 days, he became the youngest ever foreign goalkeeper to debut in La Liga, and the second-youngest player to appear in the league during the campaign, only behind Real Madrid's Achraf Hakimi.
On 24 August 2018, Uzoho renewed his contract for three seasons and was immediately loaned to Segunda División side Elche CF for one year. In February 2019 he moved on loan to Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta, in the search for more first-team football in the run up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
After making his debut for the club, concerns were raised about his health certificate. As a result, Anorthosis Famagusta were deducted 9 points, which they appealed. The club's deduction appeal was rejected, although Uzoho's appeal against his personal penalty of a one-match ban and €1,000 fine was successful.
In July 2019 he returned on loan to Cyprus, this time with Omonia. He said he hoped his return to the country would be positive. In July 2020, Uzoho Joined APOEL on a three year contract. his first league game for APOEL was on a 3-0 victory against Ermis Aradippou but he got injured and missed 3 crucial games and APOEL lost all three of them
In October 2017 Uzoho received his first call-up to the Nigerian senior squad. He made his full international debut on 14 November, replacing Daniel Akpeyi in a 4–2 friendly win against Argentina.
He withdrew from the national squad in November 2018 due to injury. He was a squad member at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Francis Uzoho was in goal for Nigeria in the 3rd place match against Tunisia.
- As of match played 25 July 2019
- "Profile" (in Spanish). Deportivo La Coruña. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "FIFA WORLD CUP DEBUT FOR FORMER ASPIRE FOOTBALL DREAMS KEEPER UZOHO". aspire.qa. Aspire Academy. 16 June 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- "Francis Uzoho: "A veces extraño jugar en punta"" [Francis Uzoho: "Sometimes I miss playing up front"] (in Spanish). La Voz de Galicia. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "El Dépor ficha al nigeriano Francis Uzoho" [Dépor sign the Nigerian Francis Uzoho] (in Spanish). Riazor. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Una promesa nigeriana se entrena con el primer equipo del Deportivo" [A Nigerian prospect trains with the first team of Deportivo] (in Spanish). La Voz de Galicia. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "El Castilla sucumbe ante el Depor en tan solo veinte minutos" [Castilla fall against Depor within only twenty minutes] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 10 September 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Eibar-Dépor will be remembered for Francis' debut". Deportivo La Coruña. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Oluwashina Okeleji (16 October 2017). "Nigerian Uzoho revels in historic La Liga debut". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
- "El portero del Deportivo Francis Uzoho entra en la historia de LaLiga" [Deportivo goalkeeper Francis Uzoho goes into LaLiga's history] (in Spanish). Marca. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Francis renueva su contrato con el Dépor por 3 temporadas" [Francis renews his contract with Dépor for 3 seasons] (in Spanish). Deportivo La Coruña. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "Francis jugará esta temporada cedido en el Elche" [Francis will play this season on loan at Elche] (in Spanish). Deportivo La Coruña. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho joins Anorthosis Famagusta on loan - Goal.com". www.goal.com.
- "Francis Uzoho: Nigeria keeper moves for first-team football". BBC Sport. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- "Francis Uzoho: Nigeria keeper caught up in Cyprus 'health certificate' probe". BBC Sport. 9 February 2019.
- "Francis Uzoho: Cypriot club Anorthosis to appeal points penalty". BBC Sport. 19 February 2019.
- "Uzoho wins appeal against one-match ban". BBC Sport. 24 February 2019.
- "Francis Uzoho: Nigerian hoping to write a 'good chapter' after Cyprus return". BBC Sport. 28 July 2019.
- "Nigerian-born teenage goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho makes La Liga debut". Daily Post. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Oluwashina Okeleji (5 November 2017). "Deportivo goalkeeper Uzoho delight at Nigeria call-up". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
- "Argentina 2-4 Nigeria World Cup 2018 friendly match: match report, goals, action". AS.com. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "World Cup 2018: Arsenal's Iwobi in Nigeria's 23-man squad". BBC Sport. 3 June 2018.
- "World Cup 2018: Nigeria's Uzoho still on a 'learning curve'". BBC Sport. 11 June 2018.
- "Injury forces Francis Uzoho to withdraw from Nigeria squad". BBC Sport. 6 November 2018.
- "Nigeria: Super Eagles' Team List for Afcon 2019". 12 June 2019 – via AllAfrica.com.
- "Bronze for Nigeria as Super Eagles beat Tunisia 1-0 to win 3rd-place game of AFCON 2019". www.pulse.ng. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
- "Nigeria keeper Uzoho facing long injury lay-off". 15 October 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Francis Uzoho: Nigeria keeper says knee operation 'a success'". 15 November 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Francis Uzoho". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 23 June 2018.