Afcon boost for Nigeria as Sparta Rotterdam's Okoye returns from injury

Maduka Okoye - NigeriaBackpagepix

There is a boost for Nigeria ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as first-choice goalkeeper Maduka Okoye returned to action in Sparta Rotterdam’s match against Vitesse on Saturday.

Okoye missed Sparta's last two matches after suffering a knock in the first-half of their 1-0 loss to Ajax on November 28.

Prior to the setback, the German-stopper was a regular starter in Hendrikus Fraser's team and for the Super Eagles where he played in all but one of their matches in the second round of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

The 22-year-old’s return puts Nigeria in good shape ahead of the commencement of Afcon 2021 where they have been placed in Group D against Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

In November, Premier League club Watford confirmed that they have signed Okoye on a five-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee. He is expected to move to Vicarage Road formally in January but he will spend the remainder of the 2021-22 season on loan at Sparta Rotterdam.

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Okoye could not prevent Sparta Rotterdam from conceding two first-half goals at the Sparta-Stadion Het Kasteel but the hosts fought back after the restart with Sven Mijnans salvaging a point for them with his brace.

Hendrikus Fraser's side are enduring a poor run of results in the Dutch Eredivisie as they are currently winless in their last six matches.

They languish in the drop zone, with 12 points after 17 matches in the 17th spot.