By Boluwatife Ezekiel Olaleye
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has stated 18-year-old Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has agreed to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria.
Rohr is considering his options as he looks to arrive at the Russia 2018 World Cup with a top-class keeper.
National Daily had exclusively that the 18-year-old Okoye was one of the German-born players being monitored by Rohr, who is searching for a replacement for Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.
Thirty-one year-old Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukaemia after returning for preseason with his Championship club Wolves on July 6.
The British-born shot-stopper, who switched his international allegiance to Nigeria two years ago, is currently undergoing treatment and has a remote chance of making the squad to the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Ikeme was in goal for the Eagles when they battled to a goalless draw against Swaziland in their preliminary round Russia 2018 qualifier at the Somhlolo National Stadium in Lobamba on November 13, 2015. Sunday Oliseh, who was in charge of the team then, also featured Ikeme in the return leg won by Nigeria 2-0 at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt four days later. He only kept the group stage qualifier against Zambia in Ndola, which the Eagles won 2-1.
Rohr has Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi and Francis Uzoho in his goalkeeping department but our correspondent learnt that the 64-year-old German is still considering his options for a starting role at the football’s showpiece event in Russia.
And the former Burkina Faso manager, who will attend the World Cup draw in Moscow today, has now confirmed that Okoye has agreed to be part of his plans.
“There’s another goalkeeper we have in our sight now. He plays with Fortuna Dusseldorf in Germany, Maduka Okoye, born in Germany but has agreed to play for Nigeria,” Owngoalnigeria.com quoted Rohr as saying on Thursday.
“We will look at him in the coming games to see if he will be able to push for a spot in the team we are preparing for the World Cup.”
The young keeper, who has a Nigerian father and a German mother, has started 11 matches for Fortuna Dusseldorf, who campaign in the second tier of German football.