Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr has taken a daring approach to his decision to invite Fortuna Dusseldorf b-team goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye for next week’s international friendly against Ukraine, despite the half-caste lad plying his trade in the fourth-tier of German football.
While heated debate and caustic comments keep trailing Okoye’s inclusion in Nigeria’s roster for Tuesday’s game at Dnipro-Arena, Rohr insists the Germany-born lad has a lot to offer his father’s country, stressing that he would not have included the youngster if he did not believe in him.
Rohr went on to reveal that he saw Okoye perform well when he watched the lad at close quarters, which he said left a lasting impression that can be replicated and justified with the Eagles, starting against Ukraine and then go even further into the future with Nigeria.
Okoye has featured so far this season in two games of the German fourth division for Fortuna Dusseldorf II and, after conceding just once against Schalke 04 II, he let in four goals against Borussia Dortmund II, as his side slumped to their first defeat of the season, but Rohr insists the lad has what it takes to challenge for the Eagles’ first choice spot.
He, however, will up against Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Francis Odinaka Uzoho, who looks set to start in the friendly against Ukraine, following his return to fine run of form with his new club, Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus, since arriving on loan this summer from Deportivo La Coruna.
Nonetheless, Rohr is tipping Okoye for a long future with the Eagles, and says he expects the Germany-born shot-stopper to become Nigeria’s first choice along the line, as he is just 20 years old at present, has what it takes to mature fast.
Rohr stressed: “I like what I saw of him in the games we scouted him. He has the quality to become the first choice of the Super Eagles if he continues to work hard. Still not there yet but he is not too far off. Hopefully he will come good for us.”