A time to have confidence in Nigerian Goalkeepers?

Before Maduka Okoye entered the international fray, the Nigeria goalkeeper position had been problematic going back to the days of Vincent Enyeama and Carl Ikeme occupying the jersey.

Maduka Okoye

Many had tried but failed to hold down the role and as a result careers were damaged beyond repair. Ikechukwu Ezenwa tossed aside after calamitous errors, and the subject of Nigeria's keepers soon became somewhat of a laughing stock to the masses.

However it now appears that a new generation of talented, reliable goalkeepers are emerging from the woodwork ready to banish the generalization that their country can't produce the best between the nets. Everyone is aware of Francis Uzoho within football circles but only in recent times have the name of Maduka Okoye has touched the lips of the majority.

Both have pulled out outstanding performances during the last week alone to belly the hype around the duo and much of Africa is now looking with admiration.

We'll start with Uzoho, who against Central African Republic in Lagos. He thwarted excellently, time and time again to save the blushes of the Super Eagles. As followers of Omonia Nicosia and Nigeria will know, this was not a performance out of the ordinary.

Okoye is still prone to making the odd error, that is to be expected of someone still at the beginning of their career. With Okoye, the sky is the limit if he can apply the correct attitude.

And finally the forgotten man of the trio, Daniel Akpeyi. Whilst Uzoho and Okoye have received more media attention, Akpeyi has been improving at a remarkable rate at Kaizer Chiefs.

These are three keepers that have plenty of time on their side, to grow and compete against each other for a jersey that should be hotly contested should all continue on their current development paths.

Beyond the afore-mentioned trio there is yet more depth with Sebastian Osigwe, Josh Oluwayemi both able keepers, demonstrating their talents on a weekly basis. Aa an outside bet, Oluwayemi is a bright young goalkeeper.

What about the exploits of Adeleye Adebayo and Daniel Jinadu. They have been impressive for Hapoel Jerusalem and West Ham United respectively.

A few clubs are now developing their young Nigerian goalkeepers and it appears to be paying dividends on closer inspection.

As a nation you have to admire anyone who stands up for their country and wants to represent passionately. In terms of natural talent, it's hard to separate Okoye, Uzoho and Akpeyi – such are the outstanding qualities of all – and that should be enough to guarantee that the Super Eagles no longer suffer the goalkeeping woes of previous years gone by.

Right now the future of Nigerian football looks like it's in great hands between the posts. One things for certain, it's never looked so promising since the days of Peter Rufai and Alloy Agu battling it out for the jersey. That rivalry brought out the best in both players, now Okoye, Uzoho and Akpeyi must do the same.

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Ademetan Abayomi has always dreamt of being a sports journalist. His journey began 11 years ago when he created my first sports news page on Facebook, called "Futball Galore" and from there on his passion for sports journalism grew stronger. Now, he is a Sports News Reporter and Feature Writer where he strives to add value and learn as much as he can.

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Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

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