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‘I feel like a Naija boy’ – Maduka Okoye on decision to pick Super Eagles over Germany

23:45 SAST 2020/01/14
Maduka Okoye Nigeria vs Brazil
The young goalkeeper has weighed in on why he resisted the chance to play for Germany and pick the Super Eagles instead

Maduka Okoye says feeling “like a Naija Boy” was a motivating factor when he had to choose between representing either Germany or the Super Eagles of Nigeria in international football.

The 20-year old, who was born and raised in the city of Dusseldorf, was a relatively unknown name until Gernot Rohr included him in the Super Eagles squad that played Ukraine in a friendly in September.

The shot-stopper was then given his chance when he came on for Francis Uzoho in the 1-1 friendly draw with Brazil a month later.

“My advice is follow your heart,” Okoye said on the Nigeria Super Eagles YouTube Channel when asked what to consider when pledging international allegiance.

“You have to feel where the love is.

“I felt the love in Nigeria and I feel like a Naija boy that's why I chose Nigeria over Germany.”

Okoye also believes that a bright future awaits the Nigeria national team with the exciting crop of young players that includes Victor Osimhen, Joe Aribo, Samuel Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu and others.

“There is so much talent in this squad, and I think in the next few years when we get a bit more experience, we can be a great squad and get a good place in the World Cup and Afcon 2021.”

Francis Uzoho’s long-term injury means Okoye will have to slug it out for a starting berth with Daniel Akepyi – who is doing exceptionally well for Kaizer Chiefs in the South African Premier Soccer League and Ikechukwu Ezenwa.

He, however, asserts he is taking things slowly and is looking to improve on himself.

“It's not going to be easy. I have to do it step by step, for now, I take everything, the experience, the training,” he said.

“We are like brothers, we are pushing each other, maybe it will take time, but I will try to get better day by day with the help of the other guys.”

Okoye currently plies his trade in the German Regionalliga West with Fortuna Dusseldorf II, featuring 11 times and playing a maximum 990 minutes this season.