Futuna Dusseldorf II of Germany goalkeeper, Emil Maduka Okoye has expressed admiration with the ‘family’ atmosphere he enjoyed during his maiden camping with the Super Eagles, as he says all the players welcomed him to the Nigerian national team like a brother.
Speaking against his first ever invitation to the Eagles, for their international finely against Ukraine last Tuesday, the Germany-born shot-stopper disclosed that I was an experience he will remember for all days of his life.
He went on to admit that it was a dream come true for him, as he had long held high hope of getting to don Nigeria’s colours, and believes he will continue to get more invitations to the squad as the years go by.
Born and named Maduka Emilio Okoye on August 28, 1999 in Düsseldorf, Germany to a Nigerian father and German mother, the soft-spoken keeper started his career in 2012 with Bayer Leverkusen’s youth team.
He, however, left Leverkusen to Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2017, where he started out with their youth squad and was fully promoted the following year to their B-squad, which plays in the German Regionalliga West.
Okoye made his professional debut against Wuppertaler as a 43rd minute substitute on October 14 2017, but finished the 2017/18 season with just five appearances, with a single conceded and four clean sheets, while his club ended 15th on the log, with 36 points after 34 games, as they barely escaped relegation to Oberliga.
In the past season, Okoye became Düsseldorf II’s regular keeper and finished the season with 15 appearances, 25 goals conceded and three clean sheets, helping the team to 12th position with 42 points after 34 games, following which he played his first match of the present campaign in a 2–1 home win against Schalke 04 II on August 24.
On February 20 this year, Okoye declared his readiness to star for Nigeria at senior level and, two days later, he was invited to the country’s under-23 Team for an African championship qualifier against Libya, but club commitments stopped him from honouring the call.
He also missed another opportunity of playing for the under-23 team in May, when their home and away fixtures against Sudan were shifted to September because of the Africa Cup of Nations, but his several misses with the Olympic Eagles transformed into a step up to the senior squad with his call-up for the friendly against Ukraine.
Although he did not get to play a single minute of Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Dnipro-Arena, Okoye said he was simply delighted being part of the camp camaraderie, which the 19-year-old mulatto pointed out was an awesome first time experience that will have a lasting impact and impression of his budding career.
Okoye disclosed: “It was a great pleasure for me being part of the Nigerian team for the first time. It was a dream come true and a very exciting time for me. I am happy to be finally part of the family. They all welcomed me like a brother, I am happy to be part of the team.”