Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer, Alloy Agu, said the technical crew were relieved after it was confirmed that number one choice goalkeeper Maduka Okoye would be available for the Africa Cup of Nations which is scheduled to take place in Cameroon next year.


Okoye suffered a shoulder injury in Sparta Rotterdam’s 1-0 loss to Ajax in Sunday’s Eredivisie encounter.


The 22-year-old was replaced by Sparta’s reserve shot-stopper Benjamin van Leer in the 24th minute after he collided with an opponent and came off worse.


With just barely six weeks to the AFCON, there were initial fears that the three-time African champions, who are already without Victor Osimhen and Oghenekaro Etebo, would also lose the Sparta’s goalkeeper to the injury.


However, the goalkeeper provided an update that the shoulder injury suffered was not as bad as initially feared.

“Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Maduka Okoye just informed us that his shoulder injury is not that bad. The keeper expects to be able to play against AZ again next Sunday. Okoye had to be sidelined against Ajax with pain,” Dutch online news hub Rijnmond Sport tweeted.


Speaking with Sports Extra, Agu said the news came as a big relief to the team.


“We were very happy and relieved to know that the shoulder injury will not rule him out of the AFCON because he is an important part of the team.


“We trusted God that he was going to come out good and we got a positive report which is great news for the whole country and for Okoye himself.”


On Okoye performance, the former goalkeeper added, “Okoye’s recent improvement will also help boost his confidence heading to the AFCON.


“Taking a look at when he started and where he is now you will see that he’s got the talent and if look at the goals he conceded you will discover that they weren’t actually his faults but goalkeepers are usually the ones who get the blame.


“We’ve analysed them and we’ve talked to him and also worked on areas that needed to be worked on and also look for a way to encourage him.


“Okoye has stepped up his game and I think he is one of the most highly-rated goalkeepers and evidence of that is the recent transfer he made to Watford.


“We know the qualities he possesses and all we did was just encourage him. Today, the same people criticising him are the same people celebrating him.”

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