In recent years, the goalkeeping position has been a constant headache for the Super Eagles since the enforced retirement of Carl Ikeme — no thanks to Leukemia. The national team handler, Gernot Rohr has tested some goalkeepers in the position, but none has displayed the kind of confidence, authority, composure, organisation and reflexes expected of an Eagles’ goalkeeper.
At the just concluded 2019 AFCON in Egypt, Daniel Akpeyi was favoured in goal, but the Kaizer Chief’s shot-stopper didn’t do much to justify his inclusion.
Ahead of the next international friendly match versus Ukraine, Rohr has given 19-year-old German-based goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, his maiden call-up to the national team.
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG presents you with some information about the youngster.
Maduka Emilio Okoye was born on the 28th of August 1999 in Duesseldorf, Germany, to a Nigerian father and a German mother.
He joined his hometown club Fortuna Duesseldorf from Bayer Leverkusen in 2017. Although he had severally trained with the first team at Fortuna especially in pre-season, he plays for the team’s reserve side, Fortuna Duesseldorf II, in the German fourth division.
He is right-footed and at stands at a height of 1,97m, which makes him physically imposing at just 19 years of age.
He embodies the style of the modern goalkeeper which is being good with the ball at his feet (Manuel Neuer style), he is good in one-versus-one situations, confident and organises his defence very well. For a young goalkeeper without first-team experience at the highest level, he has some weaknesses which the Eagles’ technical crew — especially the goalkeeper coach — need to work on. Among his weaknesses are dealing with crosses and ball-handling, although his recovery rate in these circumstances is very good.
Although eligible to play for Germany, Maduka has reiterated his desire to represent Nigeria. He has been on Gernot Rohr’s radar for a while with the manager regularly monitoring his progress. He was invited to the Dream team IV by coach Amama Amakakpabio for the U-23 nations cup qualifiers against Libya in April but was unable to honour the invitation after being restrained by his club.
Maduka has earlier stated his desire to emulate the likes of Vincent Enyeama and Carl Ikeme in making the Eagles’ number one position his own. The invitation and much-expected debut against Ukraine presents him with an opportunity to begin his wonderful journey of making his dream come true.
Super Eagles fans will follow him with keen interest and also be hopeful that he will solve the goalkeeping shambles in the team over the next few years.