Jose Peseiro, the head coach of Nigeria Super Eagles, handed a late call-up to Udinese goalkeeper Maduka Okoye on Wednesday, October 11.
Maduka Okoye is back!
The 24-year old Udinese goalkeeper has been added to the squad for the international friendlies against Saudi Arabia & Mozambique on Oct. 13 & 16.#SuperEagles #KSANGA #MOZNGA pic.twitter.com/apfaoPOU6Z
— Home of Nigerian Football (@EaglesTrackerNG) October 11, 2023
The 24-year old Udinese shot-stopper got the unexpected call-up as a result of the ongoing crisis between Israel and Hamas which has halted Hapoel Jerusalem's goalkeeper Adebayo Adeleye from traveling to join the Super Eagles squad.
Israel came under attack from Hamas militias on Saturday, with hundreds of people confirmed dead while several others are either injured, missing or captured.
Domestic football has been suspended, and flights in and out of the country monitored under strict regulations.
The Nigeria national team is preparing to play two friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique in the next six days.
Coach Peseiro had invited 25 players for the games, including three goalkeepers – Francis Uzoho, Olorunleke Ojo, and Adeleye Adebayo. Unfortunately, Cyprus-based Uzoho is the only goalkeeper who has reported to the Super Eagles camp after it opened on Tuesday, October 10.
According to reports Enyimba goalkeeper Ojo may not be available for the game as he is reportedly in Lagos, waiting for his Portuguese visa.
Adeleye and Ojo are not among the 20 players already in the Super Eagles camp in Portugal. And the Nigeria Football Federation has invited Okoye to fill in for them just like Sadiq Umar was called up to replace injured Awoniyi.
Interestingly, Okoye was the Super Eagles’ number-one goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, but he fell out of favour after Nigeria crashed out of the tournament at the knockout stages under interim coach Austin Eguavoen.
Since Nigeria’s 1-0 defeat to Tunisia at the AFCON in Cameroon, Okoye has only been invited to one national team engagement – the 4-0 friendly defeat to Portugal in November 2022.
Nearly a year later, the 24-year-old gets another chance to impress coach Peseiro as the Super Eagles prepare for the 2023 AFCON in January.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago