Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has told Sports Extra in an exclusive interview that he is shifting to young Fortuna Düsseldorf II goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, as he looks to solve the goalkeeping crisis that has rocked his team since Carl Ikeme quit due to illness. Rohr’s number one at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, Daniel Akpeyi, came under scathing criticisms for a largely unconvincing display, as the Eagles ended up in third-place after beating Tunisia 1-0 in the classification game.
The German gaffer gave his three keepers — Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Francis Uzoho — the chance to play at the AFCON as he continued his search for a solution to the problematic goalkeeping department, but he told our correspondent he would add the 19-year-old Okoye, who was born in Germany to a Nigerian father and German mother, to his goalkeeping options.
Because of his dual citizenship, Okoye is eligible to play for either Germany or Nigeria but the former Bayern Leverkusen safe hands has expressed his desire to represent Nigeria ahead of his country of birth, thus making the job of convincing him easier for Rohr and his technical crew. The youngster, who plays in the Bundesliga 2, was invited to the U-23 national side for an Olympics qualifier earlier in the year but club commitments held him back.
“My aim is to improve all the departments in the team. The most important ones are the goalkeeper and then the goal scorer, they are already two challenges now, we’ve been working on it for a long time now,” Rohr said. “We knew the problem in the goalkeeping department before the AFCON, and that it could be a big problem at the AFCON.So, the bronze medal is really an achievement and we could have even gotten to the final. When you go to the history of winners of AFCON, you must be good in this position, you must be very good and I think we can be. “So, for the goalkeeper position, we have MadukaOkoye, who plays for Dusseldorf; he will be a good one (keeper), I think.” PUNCH
Pix: Fortuna Düsseldorf II goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye