Super Eagles GK Okoye speaks about mistake at AFCON, links to inter Milan, Serie A and PL comparison 

Published: June 27, 2024
Super Eagles GK Okoye speaks about mistake at AFCON, links to inter Milan, Serie A and PL comparison 

Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has spoken about his howler in the round of 16 clash against Tunisia in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Two minutes into the second half, Youssef Msakni fired a shot from outside the penalty area which Okoye should have done better with but couldn't and that resulted into a goal for Tunisia and led to Nigeria's exit from the tournament.

His howler didn't go down well as he came under huge scrutiny and hasn't featured in any game for the Super Eagles since then but has been as a substitute on five occasions.

Speaking to OmaSports TV on the incident, the German-born shot-stopper spoke regrettably about the incident and revealed how he has moved on since then.

"When I looked back at that moment, I knew I had to do better. It pains me till today. This is the first time that I really talk about it," Maduka Okoye said. 

"You can see it as a mistake because I had to keep the ball out of the goal.

"I don't want things like this to happen because. Mistakes happen. We look back one week where you see Manuel Neuer, one of the best is making mistakes. You know it is part of the game.

"It is hard for me as a young boy to go through what happened, and I am not talking about what I heard and read on social media.

"It is more about letting your teammates, family and country down. I am not reading what people write on social media.

"People still say bad things about Cristiano Ronaldo. People will always say a bad thing about you. I know myself that I didn't do well in that situation, and I know I let my country and teammates down and I am still sad to this day and I wish it had been different.

"But it happened and I learned from my mistakes. The most important thing was that I could go on and I think that I am in a better position now than back then."

Okoye has also had his troubles with his club football, having failed to play regularly for Watford which he joined after he left Sparta Rotterdam, making just two appearances for the English outfit.

He has now gotten his career back on track with Udinese and was able to play a key role in helping the Italian side keep their Serie A status.

This has led to him being linked with a move to Serie A defending champions Inter Milan with the club needing a deputy and potential replacement for Yann Sommer.

Asked about the link to the current Italian champions, the Nigerian goalkeeper said he was happy to be linked with the Italian giants but is looking forward to the new season with Udinese 

"As I said, Serie A is a very difficult championship. I am happy and grateful to be an Udinese player. There have been rumors, I know about those, that's all. 

"As a player, it is obvious that it is a source of pride to be associated with a great club. 

"Whatever happens, I'm happy. I'm happy to be an Udinese player and I can't wait to return and start the new season in black and white."

The 24-year-old also spoke about the quality of the Serie A and stated that it was the second best League in Europe.

"A top championship. I haven't played in many leagues, but I say that for me after the Premier League, Serie A is the best championship. 

"I had to adapt to a lot of things, because it's really on another level. This country lives on football and I feel it every day and it's beautiful and pushes you to work even harder ."

Abdulkareem Abdulhamid


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