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Fan View: Is Okoye's return from injury a boost for Super Eagles or bad news? - Nigeria fans debate

10:18 GMT 19/12/2021
Maduka Okoye - Nigeria
The Sparta Rotterdam shot stopper was back in action on Saturday after regaining his match fitness

Maduka Okoye has been in decent form this season for Sparta Rotterdam, earning a move to the Premier League with Watford FC ahead of next season.

The goalkeeper was also a key figure in the Super Eagles team assembled under former manager Gernot Rohr, playing all but one of the Fifa 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Having suffered a knock in their 1-0 loss to Ajax Amsterdam on November 28, Okoye’s return from injury excited the Sparta Rotterdam fans, who are hoping that his talents can help them achieve their goals of staying in the Dutch Eredivisie before he moves on to the Premier League next season.

However, the reactions have been mixed from the Super Eagles fans, with many happy for his return, but not exactly considering it a boost for the squad.

GOAL brings you some of the reactions to Okoye's return, just three weeks to the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon next January.

What fans are saying

Okoye walked straight back into the Sparta Rotterdam starting 11 over the weekend after two weeks out due to injury, and he helped to spare a point for his side against fifth-placed SBV Vitesse, following a 2-2 draw in the Eredivisie on Saturday.

Some Super Eagles fans think that his return is only but another player available for selection.

Owamoboye Folarin wrote: "It's not a boost. Okoye is more like a liability in goal. At present, Nigeria has no goalkeeper unfortunately. Not an attack on the young man, he cannot give what he doesn't have."

Ade Ogunz believes Okoye is not ready to lead the line in Nigerian colours.

"He’s good for the bench as 2nd choice keeper," Ogunz wrote. "Maybe they should call the naija keeper in Israeli league to be the third keeper. I think his name is adebayo. Or maybe Osigwe from the Swiss league."

Victor Cobham echoed all the other sentiments expressed on Okoye's return and blamed Rohr for not looking elsewhere.

"I wouldn't call it a boost," Cobham wrote. "Truth is Okoye is not the best we have to offer, he's number one only because Rohr is lazy, fixated and has refused to give other promising talents a look-in.

"Good to see him  fully recovered though."

Adebayo Adeleye is Nigeria's U-21 goalkeeper and has earned plaudits from fans and pundits alike this season, after several impressive displays for Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Premier League.

Sebastian Osigwe is also a good shout for a call up, but Afcon may not be the best time to hand him his debut for the Super Eagles.
In the coming week, Augustine Eguavoen, the Super Eagles interim manager, is expected tol release the provisional squad list for the tournament as camp preparations intensify.

The Naija boys will have to scale through a Group D with Mohammed Salah's Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan as they look for a fourth Afcon triumph.