Super Eagles goalkeeper, Adebayo Adeleye, is thrilled to eventually make his competitive debut for Nigeria on a winning note after their hard-fought 3-2 win over Sierra Leone in the penultimate game of the 2023 AFCON qualifier on Sunday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The victory was more significant for the goalkeeper as Kelechi Iheanacho’s stoppage time goal booked Nigeria’s spot in Ivory Coast 2023 after the Leone Stars fought back from two goals down to level up with Nigeria.
Although he conceded two goals during the game, Adeleye showed flashes of his goalkeeping prowess, which earned him praise just as he was finally glad to have made his mark in such a significant win.
“Dream debut done and dusted. Thank you to everyone for believing in me & for the support,” Adeleye tweeted on Monday.
Adeleye first got a Super Eagles call up for a friendly game against Ecuador last June and after coming on as a substitute against Algeria’s second side during a friendly game last year, the Israel-based goalkeeper has been waiting to make his competitive debut for Nigeria.
With Francis Uzoho not invited this time around, the Hapoel Jerusalem goalkeeper got his chance to man the sticks for Jose Peseiro’s men, ahead of Nigeria Professional Football League duo Victor Sochima of Rivers United and Olorunleke Ojo of Enyimba.
The 23-year-old didn’t disappoint, as he impressed with four key saves, while his decisiveness, quick reflexes and coordination of his defence line contributed in keeping Nigeria in the game, in spite of the fightback by the Leone Stars.
Adeleye’s Twitter post attracted more reactions about his performance, with many tipping him to become Nigeria’s preferred number one choice in the near future.
He was also congratulated by striker Victor Osimhen who wrote, “congratulations.”
Legendary Arnold wrote, “It’s his debut and it can only get better. I’ve seen him captain his club side and did an excellent job commanding the defence. I feel so comfortable with him as our No 1.”
“Congratulations brother. You had a fantastic performance. Happy to qualify for the upcoming AFCON competition. Together we are bringing home the AFCON trophy,” Joseph Olarewaju replied.
Another fan, Afolabi Samson, also likened Adeleye to Vincent Enyeama.
“The cat is here to stay. When you’re scared to try new things then you’ll never move forward. @vinpee is back!!!”
“You are superb, we love your composure and professionalism that’s top notch for us. You are our new No. 1. It doesn’t look like your debut,” said Steve Jaide.
“You are talented. Keep working hard and you will be No. 1 for us for years to come. Well done on an impressive debut. Bayo, you need to be shouting at those defenders. The second goal was because they didn’t cover on time. The same type of goal was conceded against Tunisia that threw us out of the last AFCON. Don’t let them mess you up,” another fan, Kachi, also posted under his tweet.
“It can only get better man. You are good and we know it. Keep working and stay sharp,” said Amos Joseph.