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Serie A: Maduka Okoye More Keen To Make His Mark At Udinese

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Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye is keen on making his mark for Udinese in the Serie A but admitted that the level of competition in the Italian topflight is challenging.

The 24-year-old keeper is enjoying a new lease of life in Italy after making a switch in the summer from sister club in the English Championship Watford.

 

Like he did at Watford, Okoye endured life on the bench at Udinese before he eventually got the nod in a Serie A game against Bologna in December. Since then, he has racked up nine appearances and kept three clean sheets.

 

Though they lost the game 3-0, he has been the preferred choice between the sticks since then.

 

“The day before the match, coach Gabriele Cioffi told me that I would be the starter. He asked me if I was ready and said he trusted me,” Okoye said via the club’s website.

 

Having played in The Netherlands and England, Okoye believes the experience in Italy is different.

 

“It requires greater precision and a lot of tactics, as there are many strong players. The approach is not the same in every championship. All my teammates and my family have helped me a lot.”

 

He was recently named in the Serie A Team of The Week for his impressive performance against Juventus, with the White and Blacks stunning the Italian giants by a solitary goal.

 

“Of course, the goal is that of all highly competitive players, I wanted and always want to play, but I’m focused on work. I am happy with what I have done on the pitch so far,” he said.

 

Buoyed by his club form, Okoye is eyeing a recall to the Super Eagles after missing the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

 

He hasn’t featured competitively for Nigeria since committing a howler in a round-of-16 clash against Tunisia at the 2021 AFCON, which led to the country’s exit from the tournament.

 

“I’m very well now. I feel 100 per cent. The national team is an important thing for me and I want to return as soon as possible,” Okoye told Udinese’s official webpage.

 

“It was hard watching the Africa Cup of Nations from home, but this is football.”

 

Should he be recalled, he will have to beat Stanley Nwabali, who was impressive at the 2023 AFCON, to a spot in the starting lineup.

 

Credit: punchng.com

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