Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has sided with former Fortuna Düsseldorf sports director Lutz Pfannenstiel in his public dispute with current sports director Uwe Klein.
The ugly dispute between the two administrators started after Watford FC signed Okoye for a reported seven million euros from Sparta Rotterdam just before the last international break in November.
Sparta had snatched the young shot-stopper from Fortuna in 2020 free of charge after not playing a single game for the senior team.
But the German side is due a reported one million euros from Okoye’s Watford move because of a sell-on clause in his deal.
But hurt by the massive profit made by Sparta in the deal, Klein had attacked his predecessor for his decision not to renew Okoye’s contract in the summer of 2020. Pfannenstiel firmly rejected this.
Pfannenstiel revealed that he told his successor to renew the talented Nigerian’s contract and not to let him leave Fortuna.
However, on Monday, Klein rejected his predecessor’s accusation via the club’s website, stating that he was a liar.
“I do not allow myself to be publicly accused of lying, and I will no longer let it stand that way,” Klein was quoted on the Fortuna website.
Klein, though, admitted that he had informed Okoye in the summer of 2020 that the contract with Okoye would not be renewed.
But Pfannenstiel would not let the allegations lie unchallenged, and he fought back over the weekend via Bild, as per Wdr.
“If Uwe Klein of all people has the nerve to say something like that in public, then I just have to defend myself and say it very clearly: Uwe Klein doesn’t even blush when he lies,” said the current sports director of the US team in St. Louis City.
But Okoye has waded into the dispute, choosing to support former director Pfannenstiel.
“I have a basic sense of justice and absolutely cannot tolerate the statements that Uwe Klein made,” Okoye told the Rheinische Post, as per Wdr.
“I do not understand why he accuses Lutz Pfannenstiel. Lutz has broken a lot of spears for me and is a man of honour.
“I was ready to sign with Fortuna and continue to offer my bones for my the club of my heart, to subordinate myself and to put in my all.”
The Nigerian goalkeeper’s move to Watford will come into effect in January, but the 22-year-old will spend the rest of the season on loan at Sparta Rotterdam.