SUPER Eagles manager Gernot Rohr has invited Fortuna Dusseldorf teenage goalkeeper Maduka Okoye to camp for the forthcoming friendly game against Ukraine taking place at Dnipro on September 10.
Organised as part of the Nigerian Football Federation’s (NFF) preparations for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the Ukrainian match will also serve as a warm-up for the 2011 African nations Cup qualifiers. Gernot Rohr’s wards begin their quest to qualify for Cameroon 2021 when they face Benin Republic on November 11 in a Group L fixture.
In a bid to strengthen the goalkeeping department of the squad, Mr Rohr has invited Okoye, 19 to camp to provide competition for Francis Uzoho. Rohr met Okoye last season during a recent tour of Germany and he was impressed with what he saw in the shot stopper who was third choice goalkeeper for then second division side Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Fortuna Dusseldorf are now in the Bundesliga but Okoye is not among the four goalkeepers picked by the team for the forthcoming season, meaning he will spend the campaign with the U23 team who are playing in the German fourth division. Last season he trained with the first team but was not considered good enough to make the bench for any of their games and despite taking part in pre-season training he still was not named in their squad for the season.
Apart from Okoye, Coach Rohr is expected to also extend invitations to a few other new players including Chuba Akpom of Greek side Paok. Akpom has been on the radar of the coach for a while but his club career and form has not progressed as expected since his initial involvement with the Super Eagles about two years ago.
However he has found his rhythm at Greek side Paok with a fine run in front of goal during pre-season games, including scoring a goal in the Uefa Champions League qualifier against Ajax. Nigeria Football Federation ( NFF) officials have already started the process of Akpom’s international switch from England to enable him make the Ukraine game.
It is also likely that Coach Rohr will recall Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho, who was dropped from the African Nations Cup squad. Mr Rohr has been impressed with Iheanacho’s pre-season performance for Leicester City and expects him to at least get games over the forthcoming campaign.