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Nwabali welcomes Okoye’s competition 

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Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has stated that he has no reason to fight with Udinese star Maduka Okoye for a starting shirt in the national team, Soccernet.ng reports.

Nwabali has enjoyed a significant rise in his status in the last six months. Former Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro handed him call-up for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations because of Francis Uzoho’s consistent blunders, which cost the team on multiple occasions.

The former Enugu Rangers man grabbed the opportunity with both hands, as he was one of Nigeria’s best players in the tournament, keeping four cleansheets and making two penalty saves in the run-up to their second-place finish.

Nwabali also manned the sticks for Nigeria last time out, when they played Ghana and Mali. The 28-year-old shot-stopper has brought some solidity and assurance to the goalkeeping position after Uzoho and Okoye’s disappointing performances in recent years.

Meanwhile, Okoye seems to be back to his best after his struggles for club and country since two seasons ago. He has started to show the promise he showed at Sparta Rotterdam. He had a decent campaign with Udinese, registering five clean sheets in 21 games.

The 24-year-old’s recent performances merited him a call-up to Finidi George’s squad for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin in June.

Okoye’s call-up has put the possibility of Nwabali manning the sticks in doubt. Okoye used to be the first-choice until he lost form. And now that he seems to have returned to form, coach Finidi may be tempted to start him.

However, Nwabali is not worried that he could lose his number one place. Rather, he is only interested in the progress of the team.

“There’s no debate. If Maduka can give what he’s giving Udinese to the country, then he should play,” Nwabali told Lagos Talks.

“It’s not like a club side, where you see a new signing and you talk about fighting, No. This is country we are playing for, we are representing this green white green, and we want to see everyone happy.”

Still, Finidi will be looking to minimize risks as soon as possible. Since Nwabali has proven to be trustworthy, it is unlikely that Finidi will bench him.

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