The Sparta Rotterdam shot-stopper was only 14 years old when Nigeria last faced the Blue Sharks but will be in goal for the two sides’ first-ever competitive match
Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has confessed that he knows not what to expect from the Cape Verde Islands when the Blue Sharks host Gernot Rohr’s men at the Estádio Municipal Adérito Sena in Mindelo on Tuesday.
Three-time African champions Nigeria take on Cape Verde Islands on matchday two of the FIFA World Cup qualifying group stage.
The Super Eagles handed Liberia a 2-0 defeat on Friday courtesy of a pair of first-half goals from Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho.
The win pushed the Gernot Rohr-tutored side to the top of Group C after Cape Verde and the Central African Republic only managed an uninspiring 1-1 draw in the other group encounter.
Ranked 34th globally, Nigeria are the big favourites against a team 43 spots below them on the FIFA ranking.
But Cape Verde are a notoriously difficult team to beat in front of their fans, with Pedro Leitão Brito’s men losing just two of their last ten home games.
Couple that with the challenge of playing on the synthetic pitch in Mindelo, the mission becomes far from an easy one for the Nigerians.
Though unsure of what to make of the Cape Verdeans, Okoye is confident that as a team, the Eagles will fight together for a positive result.
“I think it’s going to be a very good game against a very good opponent, and it’s going to be an away game,” the 22-year-old spoke after Friday’s game against the Lone Star.
“We don’t know yet what to expect with the pitch and the conditions, but we still have a few days to prepare very well, and I’m very sure we’ll do that as a team together.”
Nigeria’s only previous clash with Cape Verde was in January 2013 when a Stephen Keshi-led side battled the Blue Sharks to a goalless draw at the Estádio Do Algarve in São João da Venda.
Ahmed Musa and Kenneth Omeruo are the only surviving members of that friendly meeting.