Okoye is ready to return to action as his reported shoulder injury is just a knock. The goalkeeper expects to be back in goal for Sparta soon.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria boast abundant talent in the attacking department of the team, but one area where they have a short supply of quality players is with goalkeepers.
Once upon a time, the Super Eagles boasted a plethora of top-quality goalkeepers, providing competition in that department. Goalkeepers like Emmanuel Okala, Best Ogendengbe, Peter Rufai, Ike Shorunmu, Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide were the stuff of legends. Times have changed, and there are slim pickings for the team.
The Super Eagles need a goalkeeper the fans believe in but are struggling to find one. Many have tried to fill the legendary shoes left by Enyeama but are lacking. Gernot Rohr has tested several goalkeepers, including Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, but the elixir still eludes the German.
It was on the back of this that the news of Maduka Okoye hit Nigerians.
Maduka Okoye gives update on injury
Maduka Okoye is turning into a fine goalkeeper who can fit into the shoes left behind by Vincent Enyeama. After the initial shaky moments with the Super Eagles, the young lad looks assuring and repaying the confidence reposed in him by manager Gernot Rohr.
He is undoubtedly Nigeria’s number one, and his rising profile in Europe is doing him a lot of good.
Nigerians were still reeling from the news of Osimhen’s ouster from the African Cup of Nations holding in Cameroon in January when the news of Okoye hit the stands. The Nigerian international left the pitch midway into an Eredivisie game between Sparta Rotterdam and Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam.
In a collision with Ajax striker Danilo, Okoye came off worse, suffering a shoulder injury. The initial fear was that the Super Eagles goalie would be on the sidelines for a lengthy period, but he has waved aside all worries.
Speaking with Dutch publication Rijnmond Sports, Okoye reassured Nigerians and his fans that he would only be out for a short spell as he only suffered a knock.
Okoye to be ready for AFCON
With about six weeks to go, the countdown to the African Cup of Nations next year is on.
Nigeria have already suffered a setback to its preparations with the injury to star striker Victor Osimhen. While Gernot Rohr mulls a replacement for the Napoli star, he was almost knocked off his sails with the news of Maduka Okoye’s injury. Initially presumed to be an injury that would keep him on the sidelines for long, it turns out to be just a knock.
Rohr can rest well knowing that his number one goalkeeper is not out for long. Okoye expects to be back in goal for next Sunday’s tie against AZ Alkmaar.
Okoye has come a long way from the nervous youngster manning goal for German club Fortuna Dusseldorf to becoming the first choice goalkeeper for both Sparta Rotterdam and the Super Eagles of Nigeria. The Super Eagles need him to be in pristine condition and to churn out top performances to stand a chance of winning its fourth AFCON title next year.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 years ago