Who’s Stanley Nwabali? Meet Super Eagles’ goalkeeper turning heads at AFCON 2023

 Who’s Stanley Nwabali? Meet Super Eagles’ goalkeeper turning heads at AFCON 2023

Stanley Nwabali, the first-choice goalkeeper for Nigeria in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024), has had an incredible few weeks.

Who is Stanley Nwabali? 

Nwabali is a professional keeper for Chippa United, one of the biggest teams in the top division in South Africa. The gifted shot-stopper is a native of Rivers state and was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on June 10, 1996. He moved through the Go-Round FC NNL campaign, based in Omoku.

Nwabili had a significant impact on the Omoku team during his time with Go-Round, helping them secure a spot in the Nigerian premier league.

Nwabili joined Enyimba International, the most successful club in the Nigeria Professional Football League, in 2020 after demonstrating excellent poise and potential while playing for Go-Round FC.

Nwabili became a cult hero in the industrial city of Aba as a result of his success with the Aba Warriors, appearing in League games as well as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League and Confederation Cup.

The goalie blossomed into a household name in the Nigerian top division and later joined Lobi Stars of Markurdi, a Benue State base team, in 2021.

While playing for Lobi Stars, Nwabili demonstrated his experience and class. In 2022, he joined Katsina United, from whence he moved to Chippa United, a team based in South Africa a club that he currently plays for.

Coach Jose Peseiro of the Super Eagles was drawn to in-Form Stanley Nwabali because of the goalkeeping department problems facing the Nigerian national team. Peseiro travelled to watch the  keeper train and also play.

When did Nwabali make his super Eagles debut? 

Many people believed that Nwabali’s appearance against Guinea in a pre-AFCON 2024 match was his debut for the national team.

They were not correct. Nwabali made his international team debut in a friendly match played in the United States in 2021, the Super Eagles lost 4-0 to Mexico.

Nwabali moved to Chippa United in 2022

The shot-stopper joined the South African team at the beginning of the 2022–2023 season and quickly established himself as their first choice.

So far only, Nwabali’s move to Chippa United from Katsina United is his first move outside of Nigeria.

Peseiro and the Super Eagles’ technical handlers were impressed by Nwabali’s impressive performances in the with Chippa United, with seven clean sheets in 14 games this season to date and that form led to Nwabali’s selection for the AFCON 2024.

Since then, the Chippa United goalie has only improved, winning Peseiro’s confidence and replacing Francis Uzoho as the team’s first-choice stopper for Nigerian national team.

His performances in the AFCON 2024 matches against Equatorial Guinea and the host Ivory Coast have also been highly commendable. He particularly stood out for his calmness and aerial command.

Nwabali is incorrectly called Nwabili

With some media outlets referring to Nwabali as “Nwabili,” there has been some confusion over the last few years regarding Stanley’s surname.

He was registered as Nwabili rather than Nwabali at Lobi Stars, which is presumably where the error first occurred. Even after this error was fixed, the name has persisted to this day.

See also: Revealed: See how much AFCON 2023 winners will earn

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