Should Maduka Okoye still have a spot in the Super Eagles?


A hero at Sparta Rotterdam, Maduka Okoye had warmed the hearts of fans in his final season at the club, ensuring through some fine performances that they secured, at least for another season, their status in the Eredivisie.

The 23 year-old caught the eyes of a sinking Premier League club, Watford, but the lure – visibility and bigger pay – of playing in England were too tempting to turn down.

In recent times he has made quite some baffling decisions, Okoye, turning down national team invitations over questionable fitness issues will be among them.

However, even the decision to join Watford in the Championship – then a Premier League club – has turned out to become counter productive to his progress at this point.

In his debut season, the player who cost the Hornets €5 million to pry from Sparta, has made just one appearance for the club and it was in the EFL Cup.

Despite the goalkeeper’s lack of game time, he seems to be an interest to Super Eagles ‘ Portuguese head Coach, Jose Peseiro.

Peseiro named the young goalkeeper in his 23-man squad for the friendly match against Portugal on November 17 in Lisbon.

The Coach named three goalkeepers; Francis Uzoho who only recently became a regular for Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia after his heroics against Manchester United in the Europa League last month.

Peseiro’s third choice on the list is Adebayo Adeleye, who is first choice at Ligat Ha’Al club Hapoel Jerusalem and has made 9 appearances for the team this term.

Adeleye was given minutes by Peseiro in a practice game against Algeria;; the goalie’s first NT action.

But, apparently the 62 year-old Coach wants competition in his side and Nigeria isn’t producing goalkeepers as much as there are full backs or Midfielders in the squad.

An apparent gulf in the quality across the different departments of the team then becomes obvious and having goalkeepers who cave in at the slightest sense of pressure whether in-game or from criticism of the pitch, does little to help build a team with strong character as the Portuguese wants or hopes for.

Conclusively, getting a call up, accepting to honor it and staking a claim for a national team starting XI spot is a big deal, but it makes more sense when it’s merited.

As far as Maduka Okoye is concerned this perhaps is a maze he might find either too complicated to navigate or a challenge to accept.

But no one knows if he’s ready to fight for that spot and prove his NT Coaches didn’t hand out a free pass to what should ideally be an exclusive club of patriotic fighters.


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