The three-time African champions will not be at this year’s edition of the Mundial after falling to Ghana’s Black Stars in the final qualifying round
Watford-bound goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has expressed his sadness at not helping Nigeria qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar later in the year.
Okoye says it is a shame and a dream gone burst that the Super Eagles failed to pick one of the African qualifying tickets to the Mundial.
After finishing top of their World Cup qualifying group, Nigeria were edged 1-1 on aggregate by eternal rivals Ghana in the final playoffs.
Okoye, though, remains optimistic that Nigeria will bounce back from the disappointment.
The Düsseldorf-born shot-stopper reveals that he draws courage and motivation from knowing that age is on his side and could still help the 2013 Afcon kings make it to the next three World Cups before he hangs his gloves.
“Unfortunately, the World Cup dream has burst for now,” Okoye told Transfermarkt.
“But if I calculate correctly, I can still qualify for at least three world championships with the team given my age. That’s why I don’t stress about it at all.
“It’s a shame, of course, because it’s a huge opportunity that you’re missing out on. But I don’t see that as a problem, but as a reason to work even harder because it wasn’t enough now.
“I am very sure that we will do it again.”
Okoye, Nigeria’s number one goalkeeper, has spent the last two seasons at Sparta Rotterdam, helping the Eredivisie side avoid relegation on both occasions.
The 22-year-old will, however, join Watford on July 1, having signed a five-year contract with the Hornets in January.