Maduka Okoye opts out of Super Eagles friendly matches

Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has opted out of the upcoming friendlies against Mexico and Ecuador.

Both matches have been booked to help the Super Eagles prepare for their upcoming 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Mauritius.

Okoye was one of the first names on the thirty man shortlist prepared by assistant coach Salisu Yusuf, who was the caretaker of the team before the appointment of Jose Peseiro as manager.

The Super Eagles are expected in camp soon as the first of the friendlies against Mexico is on Sunday May 29. However, Okoye, who recently heroically contributed to keeping Sparta Rotterdam in the Eredivisie ahead of next season following a second half of the season spent battling relegation, has pulled out of the team.

Nigerian journalist Sulaiman Folarin tweeted that the player pulled out due to a shoulder injury which he had been playing with since April 8.

Folarik tweeted, “Maduka Okoye pulled out of the Super Eagles friendlies and AFCON Qualifiers due to shoulder injury. He has been playing injured since April 8th against AFC Ajax. Sparta Rotterdam and Watford FC doctors agreed that he must get rehab before next season.”

Okoye not mentally ready for Nigeria

However, new information claims that although Okoye has some rehab to do, his opting out of the Super Eagles games is more due to his mental state than his injury.

In his maiden tournament appearance for Nigeria, the 22-year-old German-born goalkeeper made an unfortunate miscalculation that saw Tunisia dump Nigeria out of the 2021 AFCON held in Cameroon last January.

Nigerians did not take kindly to his error and took to social media to express their displeasure strongly. Some resorted to abuse which led to Okoye keeping his distance from social media for a while.

An anonymous source from his camp revealed to local media that he still feels bad and is not mentally ready to turn out for Nigeria again. Okoye is understood to want to be physically and mentally ready to wear the jersey of his country once more, and plans to use this rehab to get in shape both physically and mentally.

Okoye has not featured for Nigeria since that error of his in Cameroon. He did not play in the two-legged qualifiers for the World Cup against Ghana, which saw the Black Stars beat the Super Eagles in Abuja for the World Cup ticket.

The former Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper is currently preparing for his new adventure with Watford in the English Championship.

 

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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