The young shot-stopper recently completed a switch to the Eredivisie side, a move that could determine how far he goes with the national team
One-time Super Eagles goalkeeper Ike Shorunmu has charged new Sparta Rotterdam signing Maduka Okoye to grab his latest opportunity with both hands as it could be career-defining.
Okoye penned a two-year contract with the Castle Lords on Monday with the option for another two years, ending a three-year association with German side Fortuna Dusseldorf.
It’s not going to be easy becoming the first-choice goalie at his new team who are already blessed with the talents of established stoppers like Tim Coremans, Michael Fabrie, and Benjamin van Leer.
The 20-year-old faces a similar challenge with the Super Eagles, where he has the trio of Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi, and Ikechukwu Ezenwa ahead of him in the race for the number 1 gloves.
AFCON 2000 silver-winning goalie Shorunmu is pleased with Okoye’s move to Sparta, but cautions that Okoye’s success at overcoming the challenges at club level will determine how well he progresses with the Super Eagles.
“I personally believe Maduka Okoye’s move to Dutch club, Sparta Rotterdam is a welcome development considering the fact that the league is competitive,” Shorunmu told The Pledge.
“We have quality players who are playing there, and that will test how good the Nigerian goalkeeper is.
“I want to hope that this move will make him a better goalkeeper and put him in shape for the senior national team ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.”
In the just-concluded season as Dusseldorf 2’s first-choice goalkeeper, Okoye featured in 14 games, conceded 26 goals, and kept a clean sheet twice in the Regionalliga West.