The Super Eagles of Nigeria has been known to produce great goalkeeper's, from the day's of Peter Rufai to Ike Shorunmu whose career was cut short due to a near-fatal accident that almost cost him his life, and the likes of Wilson Opkara, Ike Shorunmu, Dele Aiyenugba and many more before them Nigeria has not lacked talent in that area. Then Vincent Eyeama burst into the scene taking over goalkeeping responsibilities for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Nigerian goalkeeper was initially the second choice goalkeeper in the Super Eagles of Nigeria team to Ike Shorunmu till the veteran retired from international football not because he lacked talent but because Shorunmu had more international experience.
Enyeama started his humble career with Enyimba Football Club of Aba, in the Nigerian Professional League, before he was given a call-up to the Super Eagles team. Enyeama was named second choice goalkeeper at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he was handed his chance to show the stuff he is made of in Nigeria's 3rd game of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, against England and he kept a clean sheet since then he became Nigeria's first-choice goalkeeper, helping the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a 3rd place finish in 2004, 2006, and 2010 AFCON tournament.
Enyeama soon grew in confidence and experience, he later became influential in the team and was named Super Eagles captain, he led the team to win the 2013 CAF African Cup of Nations tournament. Eyeama is arguably Nigeria's most decorated goalkeeper, with 3 NPFL title medals, 2 CAF Champions League winners medals, 2 Israeli League, 2 Israeli state Cups,1 CAF AFCON Title and 5 CAF AFCON bronze Medals.
Enyeama is also the only Nigerian goalkeeper to appear in 3 FIFA World Cup tournaments, he also has many individual awards and achievements. He was also voted man of the match in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Nigeria's game against Argentina, late Diego Maradona commended Enyeama's masterclass performance, saying the goalkeeper was the only reason why 5 times Ballon'D'or winner, Lionel Messi could not score against Nigeria.
Since his retirement, coach Gernot Rohr went scouting for his replacement and invited Wolves Hampton Wanderers English Premier League goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme who was talented and fantastic, he seemed to be the rightful heir to Enyeama's throne, but his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with leukemia, he was forced to retire. His retirement was a big headache for Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, he had to start all over, he brought in Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and Daniel Apkeyi but none of them seemed to live up to the standard set by Vincent Eyeama.
So Rohr invited German-born Nigerian, Maduka Emilio Okoye who was at the time playing for Fortuna Dusseldorf II in the German 3rd division, his impressive performance for the Super Eagles of Nigeria attracted the Dutch club Sparta Rotterdam's interest and they signed the Nigerian goalkeeper in July 2020. Maduka Okoye is currently Nigeria's first-choice goalkeeper and has played 8 games for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, conceding 7 goals and keeping 4 clean sheets.
In Nigeria's AFCON 2021 qualifier games Maduka Okoye was in great form helping the team qualify for the tournament scheduled to be played in Cameroon in January 2022. Maduka is currently Nigeria's first-choice goalkeeper and seems to have solved the Super Eagles goalkeeping headache. But as the Super Eagles are preparing to begin another round of qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, do you think Maduka Okoye is the rightful heir to replace the talented Vincent Enyeama? Do you think Maduka Okoye has what it takes to surpass Eyeama's achievements both at club level and with the Super Eagles of Nigeria?
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