Francis Uzoho

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.

Francis Uzoho
Francis Uzoho.jpg
Uzoho playing for Nigeria in a friendly match against Argentina in 2017.
Personal information
Full name Francis Odinaka Uzoho
Date of birth (1998-10-28) 28 October 1998 (age 22)
Place of birth Nwangele, Imo State, Nigeria
Height 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
APOEL
Number 23
Youth career
2013–2016 Aspire Academy
2017 Deportivo La Coruña
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2017–2018 Deportivo B 26 (0)
2017–2020 Deportivo La Coruña 2 (0)
2018–2019Elche (loan) 7 (0)
2019Anorthosis (loan) 3 (0)
2019–2020Omonia (loan) 5 (0)
2020– APOEL 15 (0)
National team
2017– Nigeria 17 (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)

Club careerEdit

Born in Nwangele,[1] Uzoho joined the Senegal branch of Aspire Academy in 2013, aged 14;[2] initially a forward, he was converted into a goalkeeper after being deemed "too slow" at the age of 12.[3] In 2016, after impressing on a tournament in Barcelona, he joined Deportivo de La Coruña's Juvenil squad.[3]

Age rules meant that Uzoho could only become available to sign a contract with Dépor in January 2017;[4] shortly after signing his contract, he started to train with the first team.[5] 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.[6]

Uzoho made his first team – and La Liga – debut on 15 October 2017, starting in a 0–0 away draw against SD Eibar.[7] 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.[8][9]

On 24 August 2018, Uzoho renewed his contract for three seasons[10] and was immediately loaned to Segunda División side Elche CF for one year.[11] In February 2019 he moved on loan to Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta,[12] in the search for more first-team football in the run up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[13]

After making his debut for the club, concerns were raised about his health certificate.[14] As a result, Anorthosis Famagusta were deducted 9 points, which they appealed.[15] 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.[16]

In July 2019 he returned on loan to Cyprus, this time with Omonia.[17] He said he hoped his return to the country would be positive.[18] 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

International careerEdit

 
Uzoho with Nigeria against Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Uzoho represented Nigeria under-17s at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Aged only 14, he was an immediate backup to Dele Alampasu.[8][19]

In October 2017 Uzoho received his first call-up to the Nigerian senior squad.[20] He made his full international debut on 14 November, replacing Daniel Akpeyi in a 4–2 friendly win against Argentina.[21]

He was named in Nigeria's 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[22] By that time he was considered Nigeria's first-choice goalkeeper.[23]

He withdrew from the national squad in November 2018 due to injury.[24] He was a squad member at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.[25] Francis Uzoho was in goal for Nigeria in the 3rd place match against Tunisia.[26]

In October 2019 he suffered a ligament injury in a friendly match against Brazil,[27] and underwent surgery in November 2019.[28]

Career statisticsEdit

InternationalEdit

As of match played 25 July 2019[29]
Nigeria
Year Apps Goals
2017 1 0
2018 11 0
2019 2 0
Total 14 0

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Profile" (in Spanish). Deportivo La Coruña. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  2. ^ "FIFA WORLD CUP DEBUT FOR FORMER ASPIRE FOOTBALL DREAMS KEEPER UZOHO". aspire.qa. Aspire Academy. 16 June 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "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.
  4. ^ "El Dépor ficha al nigeriano Francis Uzoho" [Dépor sign the Nigerian Francis Uzoho] (in Spanish). Riazor. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Eibar-Dépor will be remembered for Francis' debut". Deportivo La Coruña. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b Oluwashina Okeleji (16 October 2017). "Nigerian Uzoho revels in historic La Liga debut". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho joins Anorthosis Famagusta on loan - Goal.com". www.goal.com.
  13. ^ "Francis Uzoho: Nigeria keeper moves for first-team football". BBC Sport. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Francis Uzoho: Nigeria keeper caught up in Cyprus 'health certificate' probe". BBC Sport. 9 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Francis Uzoho: Cypriot club Anorthosis to appeal points penalty". BBC Sport. 19 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Uzoho wins appeal against one-match ban". BBC Sport. 24 February 2019.
  17. ^ https://eldesmarque.com/coruna/deportivo/noticias/39538-francis-uzoho-omonia-nicosia
  18. ^ "Francis Uzoho: Nigerian hoping to write a 'good chapter' after Cyprus return". BBC Sport. 28 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Nigerian-born teenage goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho makes La Liga debut". Daily Post. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  20. ^ Oluwashina Okeleji (5 November 2017). "Deportivo goalkeeper Uzoho delight at Nigeria call-up". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  21. ^ "Argentina 2-4 Nigeria World Cup 2018 friendly match: match report, goals, action". AS.com. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  22. ^ "World Cup 2018: Arsenal's Iwobi in Nigeria's 23-man squad". BBC Sport. 3 June 2018.
  23. ^ "World Cup 2018: Nigeria's Uzoho still on a 'learning curve'". BBC Sport. 11 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Injury forces Francis Uzoho to withdraw from Nigeria squad". BBC Sport. 6 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Nigeria: Super Eagles' Team List for Afcon 2019". 12 June 2019 – via AllAfrica.com.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ "Nigeria keeper Uzoho facing long injury lay-off". 15 October 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  28. ^ "Francis Uzoho: Nigeria keeper says knee operation 'a success'". 15 November 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  29. ^ "Francis Uzoho". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 23 June 2018.

External linksEdit