The young Nigerian shot-stopper has endured a forgettable start to the season, but he still retained his spot in the country’s latest squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers
Super Eagles goalkeeper coach Alloy Agu has backed Maduka Okoye to emerge stronger and better from his current troubles at Sparta Rotterdam.
During his breakthrough season at Sparta, Okoye kept ten clean sheets in 29 league matches to become Nigeria’s number one goalie and one of the finest prospects in the Eredivisie.
However, the stats do not look good on the 22-year-old at the start of the 2021-22 campaign. Okoye is yet to keep a clean sheet in seven games played this term, conceding 14 goals in the process.
The Dusseldorf-born goalie has shipped two or more goals in three matches. He has been beaten four times in a game twice, including in Sparta’s last weekend thrashing at home to Cambuur.
Despite Okoye’s struggles between the posts, head coach Gernot Rohr included the youngster in the Super Eagles 23-man squad to battle the Central African Republic in an October World Cup doubleheader.
And Rohr’s assistant Agu has reiterated that Okoye’s undeniable quality means he cannot be overlooked for national team assignments.
“It is always not good to concede goals, but most times it is not the fault of the keeper,” Agu told The PUNCH.
“But the technical crew sees absolutely prospects in Maduka Okoye; if we didn’t see any prospects in him, he wouldn’t be in the team.
“He is growing well in confidence and needs lots of support and we’re there to help him.
“He has the time to develop and we will give him the support he needs.”
Okoye was in goal when the Eagles secured 2-0 and 2-1 victories over Liberia and Cape Verde, respectively, in September to go top of their World Cup qualifying group.
Since his international debut on October 13, 2019, aged just 20 years 01 month 15 days, the shot-stopper amassed ten caps in all competitions for the three-time African champions.