Retired national team goalkeeper, Joseph Dosu, has praised Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr, for keeping faith with young shot-stopper Maduka Okoye even in the face of harsh criticisms that trailed his performances last week in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone.
Both Gernot Rohr and Maduka Okoye came under severe knocks from fans and analysts last week after Nigeria could only manage a disastrous 4-4 draw against lessfancied Sierra Leone in an AFCON qualifier match at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
Okoye, in what was his first competitive match for the 2013 African champions, conceded four goals – three in the game’s last 20 minutes – as Nigeria ended with just a point after victory looked inevitable. Many expected Rohr to ditch the Sparta Rotterdam goalie and draft in the more experienced Daniel Akpeyi for the return leg in Freetown.
But the German tactician, himself under the threat of losing his job, named Okoye again in the starting 11 on Tuesday in the return leg with the 21-year-old repaying the gaffer’s trust by keeping a clean sheet as the Super Eagles were forced to a stalemate in Sierra Leone.
Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold-winning goalkeeper Dosu is pleased to see how Rohr handled the young shot-stopper’s issue and is confident that he would only become even more encouraged in future engagements.
“As regards playing Maduka Okoye in goal again, I think coach Gernot Rohr did well to show his faith in the keeper, which will go a long way to help his confidence. If the coach had benched him in Freetown, it would have demoralized him,” Dosu said.