More than a year after his ‘schoolboy error’ caused the Super Eagles a place in the quarterfinal at the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, Udinese goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, is making a return to the team for today’s friendly match with Saudi Arabia in Portugal.
Okoye was said to have been handed a late call-up to the camp by Super Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro.
Okoye was the Super Eagles’ number-one goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroun, but he fell out of favour after Nigeria crashed out of the tournament at the round of 16, where the Eagles lost 1-0 to Tunisia.
Since then, Okoye has only been invited to one national team engagement, the 4-0 friendly defeat to Portugal, in November 2022.
Nearly a year later, the former Sparta Rotterdam shot-stopper gets another chance to impress coach Peseiro as the Super Eagles prepare for the 2023 AFCON in January.
The Nigeria national team is preparing to play two friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique over the next six days.
Coach Peseiro invited 25 players for the games, including three goalkeepers – Francis Uzoho, Olorunleke Ojo, and Adeleye Adebayo.
There were reports, yesterday, that Cyprus-based Uzoho is the only goalkeeper in the Super Eagles camp, which it opened on Tuesday, October 10.
Enyimba goalkeeper Ojo may, however, not be available for the game as he is reported to be in Lagos, waiting for his Portuguese visa.
Hapoel Jerusalem goalkeeper, Adeleye could also miss the games due to the crisis in Israel.
Israel came under attack from Hamas militias on Saturday, with dozens of people confirmed dead while several others are either missing or captured.
Football in the country has been suspended, and flights in and out of the country monitored under strict regulations.
Adeleye and Ojo are not among the 20 players already in the Super Eagles camp in Portugal. And the Nigeria Football Federation has invitedOkoye to fill in for them, according to Soccernet.ng.