Super Eagles Goalkeeper Makes Impressive Debut for Serie A Club Following AFCON Snub by Jose Peseiro

Super Eagles Goalkeeper Makes Impressive Debut for Serie A Club Following AFCON Snub by Jose Peseiro

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Italian Serie A logo
ITA Serie A
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M. Okoye
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  • Jose Peseiro recently released Nigeria’s AFCON squad list
  • Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was amongst the list of players omitted
  • The 24-year-old impressed in goal on his Italian Serie A debut

Jose Peseiro's final selection for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) has ignited a spirited debate among ardent supporters of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

However, there is unanimous agreement on certain exclusions, none more pronounced than the absence of 24-year-old goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

Maduka Okoye, Udinese, Serie A, AFCON
Maduka Okoye during Udinese's Serie A clash against Bologna. Image: @SSE_NGA.
Source: Twitter

The former Watford shot-stopper, who was notably between the sticks during the last AFCON in Cameroon, faced significant criticism for a perceived lapse that contributed to the Super Eagles' elimination from the tournament by the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.

However, while many expected a resurgence from the former Dusseldorf goalkeeper, especially factoring in his transfer to English Championship side Watford, the promising Okoye struggled to capitalise on what was once hailed as burgeoning confidence, spending a considerable portion of his time on the bench.

His subsequent move to Serie A club Udinese, which was anticipated to provide more playing opportunities, unfolded differently than planned.

Okoye found himself primarily reduced to a substitute role behind the seasoned veteran Marco Silvestri. Nonetheless, undeterred by recent challenges, Okoye appears evidently determined to leave an indelible mark on his manager, as he showcased his commitment during a stellar debut for Udinese, as reported by Football Italia.

Okoye stellar performance for Udinese

In a notable performance against Bologna, Okoye not only secured a clean sheet but also bolstered his case with five crucial saves and a well-timed punch.

This standout display played a pivotal role in Gabriele Cioffi's side clinching their first victory since November, according to Fotmob reports.

While the former Sparta Rotterdam shot-stopper may lament his absence from the AFCON with Nigeria, his impressive showing positions him as a strong contender for the coveted first-choice goalkeeper spot ahead of Silvestri. Moreover, it sets him on a trajectory toward a potential role in the 2026 FIFA World Cup— which would be a dream scenario for the budding goalkeeper.

Super Eagles goalkeeper responds to critics

Sports Brief in a previous report highlighted that Super Eagles goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has replied to his critics despite his errors during the October friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique.

Uzoho made a howler in the 60th minute of the tie against the Green Falcons of Saudi when he parried the ball into his own net.

Uzoho looked vulnerable as he also conceded two goals against Mozambique, with Nigerians questioning his competence in between the sticks.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).