The young shot-stopper is guaranteed the number one gloves in Porto Novo today, and he has his heart set on individual and collective targets
Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye says he is looking to replicate his brilliant form in the colours of Sparta Rotterdam for the Super Eagles when they take on the Benin Republic later on Saturday.
Nigeria are in Porto Novo ahead of their crucial Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Squirrels. The team needs at least a draw against the home side to secure qualification for Cameroon 2022.
Okoye is expected to be in goal when the Super Eagles file out against their West African neighbours at the Stade Charles de Gaulle, having worked his way up to become the undisputed number one ahead of Apoel’s goalie Francis Uzoho.
A regular feature for Sparta since overtaking veteran shot-stopper Benjamin van Leer earlier in the season, Okoye has helped the Dutch side keep seven clean sheets in 21 Eredivisie games.
His best days are still to come for the Super Eagles, though, with the 21-year-old not impressing when Nigeria surrendered a four-goal lead to draw Sierra Leone last year.
Okoye is, however, in a confident mood, having kept two clean sheets in his last three games for Sparta. And the former Fortuna Dusseldorf starlet aims for perfection in Benin, with a clean sheet and a victory for the three-time Afcon kings.
“It was good to have a clean sheet in my last two games at club level, but for Nigeria, most importantly, we have to get a win, and a clean sheet to top it off will be perfect,” Okoye told the Punch.
Having lost just once in 15 matches against Saturday’s hosts, winning 12, Nigeria will look to add to a solid record when the Gernot Rohr-led side takes to the pitch in Porto Novo.