Maduka Okoye Declares His Desire To Return To The National Team Of Nigeria

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Adesina David

May 14, 2023
Maduka Okoye has indicated his desire to be recalled to the national team of Nigeria after missing out on the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Okoye has not played for Nigeria since his unfortunate error in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 clash against Tunisia, which resulted in the Super Eagles' exit from the tournament.

Maduka Okoye reportedly asked to be excused from national team engagements following criticisms from fans and media, with the goalie being unavailable for matches involving the 3-time Africa Cup of Nations champions.

The 24-year-old apparently excused himself from matches involving Nigeria as he was focused on settling in at his new club, Udinese.

Okoye has been impressive in goal for the Italian side this campaign, keeping 3 clean sheets in 10 appearances across all competitions.

Maduka Okoye joined Udinese from Watford on August 24, 2023, for an undisclosed fee, with the Nigerian earning the number 1 spot in the team after his arrival to the Italian side.

Ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, even Austin Jay-Jay Okocha bemoaned Jose Peseiro's decision to exclude Okoye from his 25-man list for the tournament.

Okocha in an interview with BBC’s Osasu Obayiuwana said: “Okoye is the one keeper who has the type of training and football upbringing that we need in a goalkeeper in the national team. But he is excluded. It’s strange."

The former Paris Saint Germain midfielder also lambasted Peseiro's man-management qualities, saying:

“The way he was handled after the Round of 16 game against Tunisia talks about the quality of player management in the national team.”

Maduka Okoye made his debut for the national team of Nigeria on October 13, 2019, in a 1-1 draw for the Super Eagles against Brazil, under the tutelage of Gernot Rohr.

He came off the bench during the affair against the Selecao, replacing Francis Uzoho, 3 minutes after the hour mark.

The former Sparta Rotterdam man put in a decent shift on the day, making some decent saves to keep the game level till full-time.

Anyway, speaking in a recent interview with the Udinese official website, Maduka Okoye acknowledged that it was a tough pill to swallow for him, watching the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations from home.

He said: “I am very well now. I feel 100 percent. The national team is an important thing for me and I want to return as soon as possible.

“It was hard watching the Africa Cup of Nations from home, but this is football.”

Maduka Okoye has a big battle on his hands if he wants to regain the number one shirt, as he will have to beat Stanley Nwabali, who has seemingly made the goalkeeping spot his own, following his amazing display at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Nwabali kept an impressive 4 clean sheets in 7 matches during the tournament, helping Nigeria to a 2nd-placed finish at the continental showpiece.

Stanley Nwabali has since received much love from Nigerians, and he appears to be the undisputed current number one.