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Is Maduka Okoye the bona-fide number 2?

Coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria Gernot Rohr has been lamenting on the difficulties the team has faced in the goalkeeper department.

Speaking in an interview monitored by Afrofooty, the German tactician said: “In the goalkeeping department we are unlucky.

We lost Carl Ikeme who had to stop his career and the injury to Francis Uzoho. Already Uzoho who didn’t play for his club was a problem and then he came back and is injured now for six months.

But the surgery went well and he’s on the right way to come back."

One thing jumps out from that excerpt is that Rohr does not appear to rate Akpeyi and Ezenwa (anymore). His number 1 is undoubtedly Uzoho while Okoye appears to be number 2. What of Akpeyi and Ezenwa (I hear you ask); stop-gaps. Akpeyi’s recently stellar run of games coupled with Okoye’s relative inexperience led to a recall for the South African based net minder in the crucial Afcon qualifiers against Benin and Lesotho. Already, Okoye is getting more game time and his market value has increased from £45,000 to £135,000 from January this year to September when he was called up against Ukraine – The Niger-German would featured for Nigeria against Brazil shortly afterwards. With world cup and Afcon qualifiers billed for next year, you get the sense that Okoye’s development will be closely monitored. If he should manage to seal a transfer to a division 2 side in Germany with regular performances, then even if Akpeyi emerges as the Fifa player of the millennium, it will likely Okoye who would man the post for Nigeria in coming matches (if Uzoho continues his convalescence). Speaking on brilla fm recently on his stay at the Super Eagles camp, Maduka said: “It was really a good experience, with older guys like Musa in the camp, I learned a lot” He might yet come to put all his has learnt to use with crucial games coming up next year. Tough and interesting times ahead for this young Ibo man from Düsseldorf.

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