It still pains me - Okoye reflects on Nigeria mistake

It still pains me - Okoye reflects on Nigeria mistake
Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Central African Republic and Nigeria held at the Omnisports Stadium in Ngaoundere, Cameroon on 10 October 2021 © Alain Guy Suffo/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Friday Jun 28, 2024. 15:44

Nigerian star Maduka Okoye has opened up about the mistake he made during a match against Tunisia at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

The tall goalkeeper failed to deal with a low long-range shot from Youssef Msakni which beat him and the Super Eagles crashed out of the tournament after losing 1-0 to the Carthage Eagles in the Round of 16.

Okoye was heavily criticised by fans and the media following the match and the Udinese Calcio player has since lost his spot as Nigeria’s first-choice keeper.

“When I looked back at that moment, I knew I had to do better. It pains me till today. This is the first time that I really talk about it,” Okoye said on OmaSports TV.

“You can see it as a mistake because I had to keep the ball out of the goal. I don’t want things like this to happen because. Mistakes happen.

“We look back one week where you see Manuel Neuer, one of the best is making mistakes. You know it is part of the game. It is hard for me as a young boy to go through what happened,” he continued.

“And I am not talking about what I heard and read on social media. It is more about letting your teammates, family and country down. I am not reading what people write on social media.”

“People still say bad things about Cristiano Ronaldo. People will always say a bad thing about you. I know myself that I didn’t do well in that situation, and I know I let my country and teammates down and I am still sad to this day and I wish it had been different,” he added.

“But it happened and I learned from my mistakes. The most important thing was that I could go on and I think that I am in a better position now than back then.”

Okoye, 24, has earned 24 caps for Nigeria and he was included in the Super Eagles squad that faced South Africa and Benin earlier this month.

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