Gernot Rohr has praised the Nigeria goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa after his outstanding African Nations Championship showing in the quarter-final victory over Angola on Sunday, but has stopped short of appointing him as the first-choice stopper for the World Cup.
Ezenwa won CAF's Man of the Match award following a fine showing in the home-based Super Eagles' 2-1 come-from-behind extra-time victory over Angola in Tanger, after delivering a series of fine stops to keep Salisu Yusuf's side in the game.
The keeper twice denied Mano - including with a magnificent double block - midway through the first half, and palmed away Fofo's effort eight minutes from time after the Angola forward had broken through on goal.
However, despite Ezenwa's superb performance, Rohr has refused to confirm that the Enyimba FC man will be his first-choice stopper at the World Cup.
"It's too early to say," Rohr told KweséESPN. "We can't choose our goalkeeper for June in the month of January.
"[However], he proved today - and already did in the first three matches - that he's in form and he can claim to be one of the three goalkeepers for the World Cup.
"First choice?" the German coach added. "That's for me to decide later."
Ezenwa was installed between the sticks for the Super Eagles following Carl Ikeme's leukaemia diagnosis, but he delivered an uncertain showing in the 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Cameroon, and Rohr opted to assess rivals Daniel Akpeyi and Francis Uzoho for the friendly victory over Argentina.
Similarly, the spectre of Super Eagles centurion Vincent Enyeama looms large over the squad, with Rohr refusing to rule out a return for the experienced keeper.
"I was very happy for the form of [Ezenwa], who did very well," Rohr continued. "It's good to know for our World Cup that he's in form."
Nigeria fell behind in the 56th minute when substitute Timothy Danladi's attempted clearance rebounded off Va and beyond Ezenwa.
However, they equalised at the death through Anthony Okpotu's close-range finish in the 92nd minute, before Gabriel Okechukwu struck a winner in the 109th minute of extra time to set up a semi final against Sudan in Marrakech.
For his part, hero of the hour Ezenwa insisted he was remaining humble as he sought to prove himself to Rohr.
"The most important [thing for me] was that the manager Rohr was here," he told journalists, "and that he's been watching the performances of Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
"The future's bright," he added. "I still have to make it to the World Cup, but I still have to remain humble - which I am."