IKENWA NNABUOGOR queries the invitation of Fortuna Dusseldorf of Germany goalkeeper Maduka Okoye for the friendly against Ukraine…
The Super Eagles call-up of goalkeeper Maduka Okoye of Fortuna Dusseldorf B team playing in the fourth-tier of German football for a friendly against Ukraine has raised a lot of dust among soccer watchers, who question the justification for such an invitation.
The friendly scheduled for September 10 in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro had the Eagles’ AFCON 2019 first-choice goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi missing and replaced by the reserve keeper at the German fourth tier side.
It will he recalled that coach Gernot Rohr had sounded out inviting Okoye long before Eagles grabbed their bronze medal in Egypt and was only making good this hint with the invitation of the youngster.
Soccer faithfuls have wondered the criteria for Rohr to invite the young goalkeeper, who is yet to stand between the sticks for his German side.
At only 19, Okoye, born in Dusseldorf, has been with the German side since 2016/17 season, playing just 15 times in the past season. Could this be one of the reasons why he was handed an invite sooner than he ever thought he could be among the big boys, at the expense of an established local league goalkeeper like Theophilus Afelokhai?
Could Rohr be projecting into the future by bringing in a previously untested rookie at the expense established goalkeepers both foreign and local?
Many would argue that Okoye should have progressed through the junior ranks rather than shooting him straight to the Super Eagles without a rich resume that would have ordinarily make a strong case for his inclusion.
Ex-Eagles goalkeepers like Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide were sourced from local league and after few years in the team they attracted clubs in Europe.
A lot more should be made to follow in their footsteps rather than sneaking in an untested Euro-based rookie to the team.
National teams are supposed to places where finished articles are traded and not grounds for experiments.
In truth, Okoye’s inclusion is more like a joke than a piece of serious business.