Nigeria is hoping to leave a lasting impression on the rest of the world at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia by doing what no team besides Uruguay, Italy, Germany, Brazil, England, Argentina, France or Spain have done.
However, the Super Eagles will have not just some of the best footballing nations to contend with, also the team; particularly goalkeepers, will have to deal with the peculiar problem of the match balls.
Match-ball design is a science that tends to work against goalkeepers wrote Spanish journalist Alfredo Relaño [AS]. This situation is a recurring decima for goalkeepers and no less Nigerian goalies.
Thus with the World Cup drawing ever closer, it became pertinent to, once again, find out from the Russia-bound shot stoppers their take on the Telstar – 2018 FIFA World Cup match-ball.
After Germany and Spain’s draw on Friday, AS’s Joaquín Maroto asked David de Gea, Pepe Reina and Marc-André ter Stegen about the 2018 World Cup ball, and the trio were in complete agreement: It’s difficult for keepers; it makes weird movements.
Their complaints echo the gripes we’ve heard from plenty of stoppers who have come before them. To quote their two most illustrious recent predecessors, for example, Gianluigi Buffon branded the 2002 effort a “ridiculous kiddies’ bouncing ball”, and Iker Casillas described 2010’s as a “beach ball”.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have just one official game with the Telstar, conceding two goals against Argentina.
Although not a bad outcome, what begs for answer is – if the Eagles goalkeepers have any reservations like their counterparts.