The race for who becomes Nigeria’s next substantive number one took an interesting turn a few days ago when Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye completed his move to Dutch club Sparta Rotterdam.
Starring in the Eredivisie will surely add more to his credibility than struggling in the German third-tier. That move should stand the youngster in good stead in his burgeoning rivalry with Francis Uzoho, who also switched Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna for Cyprus’ Apoel Nicosia hours ago.
It is also pleasing to know that the country that produced great goalies like Emmanuel Okala, Joe Erico, Alloysius Agu, and Ike Shorunmu, among others, is not lacking in young goalkeeping talents.
While it is true that the Super Eagles have struggled to find a top-quality goalkeeper in recent years, aside from Carl Ikeme, it is not true that it has always been a problem.
The truth is, Nigeria have produced some of Africa’s finest gloves-men over the ages and Soccernet.ng’s Imhons Erons here ranks the most brilliant ten of the lot.
Ike Shorunmu had been in and around the national team since 1992, narrowly missing out on the party to Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup appearance in the United States in 1994.
He quickly shrugged off that disappointment and was a member of the squad that finished fourth at the 1995 King Fahd Cup – his first major tournament for Nigeria.
After understudying Peter Rufai for so many years, Shorunmu was set to be the Super Eagles’ first choice at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, but injuries, unfortunately, shattered his dreams.
He wasn’t one to be defeated, though, and when it appeared as if it was over for him in the national team, he bounced back stunningly to make the twilight of his international career his best years.
He was 33 when he helped the Super Eagles to a runners-up spot at Ghana-Nigeria 2000, where Cameroon edged the co-hosts to the title on penalties.
The following edition in Mali, Shorunmu added a bronze medal to his trophy cabinet before representing Nigeria at the World Cup proper that summer – fulfilling an eight-year dream.