Maduka Okoye: Udinese Goalkeeper Breaks Silence After Receiving Nigeria Call Up

Maduka Okoye: Udinese Goalkeeper Breaks Silence After Receiving Nigeria Call Up

Edwin Kiplagat
May 27, 2024 at 7:25 PM
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  • Udinese goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, has been called up to the Nigeria team
  • Okoye has been in and out of the fold since his error against Tunisia in 2021
  • He is delighted to be back in Finidi George's team ahead of June's matches

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Finidi George recently named his Nigeria squad, which will face South Africa and Benin in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

A few big names were missing, but new faces, like Maduka Okoye, returned to the squad after an extended absence. The Udinese goalkeeper is excited to wear the Super Eagles colours again.

Maduka Okoye, Nigeria, Udinese, Serie A, Finidi George, Stanley Nwabali, Francis Uzoho
Udinese star, Maduka Okoye, has bearely featured for Nigeria since his error against Tunisia in 2021. Photos by Daniel Beloumou Olomo and Image Photo Agency.
Source: Getty Images

The 24-year-old has been in and out of the team since his costly mistake against Tunisia eliminated Nigeria from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

That performance saw him receive intense criticism and abuse on social media, forcing him to take a break from the team. Since then, however, he has made sporadic appearances on the team.

Moreover, he has become a more capable goalkeeper at Udinese. He has played 21 Serie A matches this season and kept five clean sheets. He was second choice at the club for the first 17 matches of the season, per Transfermarkt.

After that, he played every second in Serie A and helped them survive relegation. His performances have now earned him a spot in Finidi's team.

“I am very happy to return to the national team. It is a great honour for me and my family to play for Nigeria," he said via Complete Sports.

Okoye vs Nwabali

Chippa United goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, is the undisputed No. 1 for the Super Eagles, at least for now.

His performances at the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast helped him take over as the team's regular starter from Francis Uzoho.

The Omonia goalkeeper has been dropped from the team for the first time in a while, and Okoye has taken his spot, per Afrik-Foot.

Given the gravity of the upcoming matches, Nwabali will likely start both matches, but if Okoye continues to perform for Udinese, his position will be in serious jeopardy.

Agu lauds Okoye

Sports Brief earlier reported that former Nigeria international, Alloy Agu, predicted that Okoye will be recalled to the SUper Eagles.

Agu was impressed with Okoye's form at Udinese and is happy he bounced back from the abuse he received a few years ago.

Authors
Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.