Okoye back in action as Super Eagles prepare for AFCON

Okoye 2021

Maduka Okoye returned to action on Saturday from a shoulder injury in a 2-2 draw with Vitesse Arnhem.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper has in recent years cemented his place as Nigeria’s number one goalkeeper.

The handlers of the Super Eagles of Nigeria are counting on the fitness of its players to make a mark at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year. The team has undergone a couple of reshuffling with German gaffer Gernot Rohr booted out and replaced with former Super Eagles defender Augustine Eguavoen.

The new coach has kept people guessing what the new Super Eagles would look like. The former Nations Cup winner is not letting much out of the bag. He recently alluded to selecting his final 28-man squad from the 40-man list Gernot Rohr sent to CAF.

While Nigerians wait for the names to be released, it is difficult to shake off the feeling of a few surprises on the list. Barring any injuries, certain players will make the trip to Cameroon. The debate lies with whether players like Odion Ighalo and Victor Moses will be part of the party to the tournament.

As Eguavoen continues to tinker with the list, the Super Eagles coach received more good news concerning the availability of Maduka Okoye. It comes like a booster jab designed to put all matters to rest. The Super Eagles number one goalkeeper Maduka Okoye returned to action this weekend.

Maduka Okoye to be ready for AFCON

Last week, the handlers of the Super Eagles received a timely boost with the news that Napoli striker Victor Osimhen should be available for selection at the African Cup of Nations. A lot has been hinged on the fitness of Osimhen as he should lead the Super Eagles attack.

Indications were that Osimhen would be out for around three months, but the striker has made plenty of progress in his recovery.

Eguavoen received another boost with the announcement that Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Maduka Okoye is back in action. With worries over who would man the goal for the Super Eagles if Okoye does not make it, Eguavoen will welcome this piece of news.

Injury update

Okoye has 12 caps to his name for the Super Eagles but has been on the sidelines since he picked up a shoulder injury in the 1-0 defeat to Ajax Amsterdam on November 28. The 22-year-old was a major worry for the Super Eagles. He has boosted the national side with the news of his recovery. Okoye now needs to get more games under the belt for match fitness.

Sparta head coach Henk Fraser had earlier confirmed that the Maduka Okoye would make his return from injury against Vitesse Arnhem at Het Kasteel on Saturday evening. True to his word, Maduka Okoye featured for all 90 minutes as Sparta drew 2-2. Okoye conceded two late goals as Sparta were denied all three points.

Nigeria will resume camp in a couple of weeks as preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations begins. The competition kicks off in Cameroon on January 9, with the Super Eagles playing its first game against the Pharaohs of Egypt on January 11.

Fraser had plenty of praise for Okoye, describing him as Sparta’s number one goalkeeper.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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