Troost-Ekong has heaped praise on Maduka Okoye and claims he is a calming influence on the team.
Okoye kept a clean sheet against Egypt in their opening game of AFCON.
The Super Eagles are still wallowing in their hard-fought victory over the pharaohs of Egypt. The win helped the team relax a little, but hopes are they don’t let their guards down ahead of their tie against Sudan on Saturday.
Many have wondered what it feels like for the players when they are on the pitch. Fans have always wondered what the relationship between the players is like in the dressing room.
Troost-Ekong spoke about his first-class performance against Egypt and shutting out Mohamed Salah.
A calming influence in the team
Williams Troost-Ekong is one defender that has been in the Super Eagles for a while, but the Watford defender is still to enjoy the fans confidence. The Super Eagles stalwart has often come under criticism, but Ekong put it all behind him as he posted a solid performance against Egypt. Ekong claims he received help in delivering a Salah lockdown masterclass.
In the absence of Ahmed Musa, Troost-Ekong stood in as captain and delivered an A-class performance. Ekong had special praise for goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, insisting he showed top qualities that helped him become the team’s first-choice shot-stopper.
After the game against Egypt, Ekong had plenty to say. Speaking with Watford’s official website, he praised several players, particularly Maduka Okoye, who is on his way to Watford next season.
Ekong claims that Okoye is a calming presence on the team, and he is comfortable playing with him. According to Ekong, Maduka Okoye is enjoying the opportunity to play for the Super Eagles and insists that he has been consistent since he joined the team. For Ekong, it is rare for a young goalkeeper to maintain this consistency.
Ekong is excited about his qualities saying, he is always coming for the ball and talks a lot during games, which is something a defender wants from his goalkeeper.
A long road to the present
Nigerians have Gernot Rohr to thank for the discovery of Maduka Okoye. Okoye had to wait till October 2019 to make his international debut. He came on for the injured Francis Uzoho in a friendly against Brazil in Singapore.
Uzoho had to claw his way to number one while being the third-choice goalkeeper behind Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi. Uzoho was Nigeria’s number one at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with Akpeyi as an assistant.
Okoye has continued to grow in status and stature. He has become Sparta Rotterdam’s first-team goalkeeper and earned a move to Watford last year. With the change of guard in the Super Eagles, Okoye’s position as number one goalkeeper has remained unthreatened. The interim coach Augustine Eguavoen has retained faith in him, putting him between the sticks against Egypt.
Against Egypt, the 22-year-old was impressive and, with the support of Troost-Ekong and Kenneth Omeruo, was able to keep a clean sheet. Ekong is impressed with how far the youngster has come.
Nigeria plays Sudan on Saturday, and a win would hand the Super Eagles qualification to the knockout round with a game to spare.
This article was most recently revised and updated 5 months ago