The Sparta Rotterdam goalie has been in fine form of late but will not be able to replicate his excellent club performance for the national team
Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has been ruled out of the Super Eagles’ crucial World Cup against Ghana, hitting a big blow in Nigeria’s plans for the double-header.
According to Sulaiman Folarin, a top BBC and talkSPORT journalist, Okoye tested positive for COVID-19 just before he departed from the Netherlands and was not allowed to board the flight to Abuja.
BREAKING: Maduka Okoye is OUT. He tested positive for Covid-19. He was unable to board the flight from Netherlands to Abuja. #Nigeria's starting goalkeeper will miss the #WorldCup playoffs vs #Ghana. #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/F1ydRCY9Hh— Sulaiman Folarin (@sulaiman4real) March 22, 2022
Okoye has been the Super Eagles’ number one glove for a while and was Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The 22-year-old shot-stopper was excellent for Sparta Rotterdam in March, keeping clean sheets in both matches played by the Eredivisie relegation strugglers.
The absence of Okoye will come as a big blow for Super Eagles head coach Augustine Eguavoen, who was banking on the German-born goalie to help tame the Black Stars at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday.
Eguavoen has other alternatives in Cyprus-based Frank Uzoho and Kaizer Chiefs’ Daniel Akpeyi. The coach has called John Noble as Maduka Okoye’s replacement, but the Enyimba shot-stopper goes straight into the team as the third-choice goalie.