What next for Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye?

The 22-year-old shot-stopper lost the battle to become Watford's number one goalkeeper this season.

Maduka Okoye lost the battle to become Watford's number one

When Okoye signed his five-year deal with Watford, he had hoped to become the club's number one goalkeeper.

The Nigerian international was Sparta Rotterdam's number one when he signed and had hoped to take up the number one spot when he joined the Hornets this summer.

However, things do not always go the way we hope for, and that is what Okoye has realised since joining Watford. The 22-year-old lost the battle to become the club's number one, with Watford boss Rob Edwards choosing Ian Bachmann as the club's number one.

While that is not even bad, considering Bachmann was Watford's number one early last season, it is the decision to make him the third-choice goalkeeper that complicates Okoye's woes.

The Super Eagles star has been left out of Watford's matchday squad for their opening two games in this season's Skybet Championship.

Ben Hammer has been the Hornets' second-choice goalkeeper so far. According to the club's Sporting Director, Cristiano Giaretta, Okoye has not been able to make the matchday squad because the Hornets have to fulfil the homegrown quota rule.

And with Hammer being one of the homegrown players in Watford's squad, there has been no space for Okoye in the club's squad for their first two games.

This complicates his situation, and it does not look like it will change this season. So what next for the Nigerian shot-stopper?

Okoye had two successful years with Sparta, having joined the club in 2020, so returning to Sparta could be an escape route for him. Although he also had a difficult start at Sparta, he became the club's number one goalkeeper six games into his first year at the club. The Nigerian international was named the club's player of the year in his first season before helping the side avoid relegation in his second year.

Okoye signed a five and half year deal with Watford last November, but he spent the first six months on loan with Sparta Rotterdam.

The 22-year-old started last season with Sparta, so he had to finish the season with the Dutch club as part of the conditions in the deal.

And with his current status at Watford, a loan move back to Sparta could be what he needs.

Okoye's second option, which is his most likely choice, is to wait for his time at Watford. Considering Bachmann lost his place to Ben Forster after starting last season as number one, Okoye can also wait for his time, hoping to capitalise on a mistake from the Austrian goalkeeper.

But that is a big risk, considering coaches rarely change goalkeepers. Nonetheless, Okoye can still wait even if Bachmann does not drop his level. At 22, he is likely to be Watford's number one in the long term, even though it could cost him his place in the Super Eagles squad.

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