Is Vincent Enyeama Irreplaceable?

Published in Sports Written by  October 20 2023 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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By Andrew Blessing Timiebi

Eight years after his retirement, the Nigerian football disciples, are still reminiscing on his goalkeeping heroics, following the crisis plaguing the goalkeeping department of the Super Eagles.


The question on the minds of football lovers is; “When will Nigeria find a replacement for Vincent Enyeama?“


Here is the background story:

Vincent Enyeama made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2002. He was called up to the national team by the former coach, Adegboye Onigbinde.


He was in the national team from 2002-2015, and during his 13-year stay, his number 1 position was unquestionable. 


Austin Ejide and Dele Aiyenugba were the other goalkeepers with meaningful game time, but undoubtedly Enyeama was the first choice.


He represented the national team in three FIFA World Cup tournaments and played a crucial role in the team’s victory in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. He was ranked the best goalkeeper in Africa in 2014 after the FIFA World Cup and was nominated to win the African Player of the Year award the same year.


The former Super Eagles captain announced his retirement from international football after a row with former coach Sunday Oliseh in October 2015. Since, it has been a bumpy ride.


Since his retirement:

Nigeria has fielded over seven goalkeepers in the search for a number 1. They are: Carl Ikeme, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Dele Alampasu, Francis Uzoho, Dele Ajiboye, Maduka Okoye and Adebayo Adeleye.


That’s averaging one goalkeeper per year when Vincent Enyeama was solid for 13 years. 


Carl Ikeme took over as the number 1. He was seen as the successor to Enyeama not until he was diagnosed with acute leukemia in July 2017 and officially left the Super Eagles in 2018.  


Daniel Akpeyi was given the gloves in the 2019 AFCON qualifiers where he didn’t cover himself in glory.


He went on to man the sticks at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where he cost the team. Some fans are yet to forgive him for the poor positioning of and behind his wall during a Riyad Mahrez free-kick that gifted the North Africans the win.


Maduka Okoye has had his own fair share of blunders, this made him take a break from the national team.


Uzoho’s blunder in the recent friendly against Saudi Arabia is a minor part of his goalkeeping blunders. Fans are worried and angry, not just because of his schoolboy errors but also because of the painful memory of the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Ghana where the Eagles failed to qualify for the Qatar showpiece.


With all of this, it is evident that the goalkeeping department of the Super Eagles is in crisis and something has to be done urgently to solve this conundrum.


Finding a perfect replacement for Vincent Enyeama seems impossible eight years later, maybe his shoes are just too big to fill or the NFF and those in charge aren’t doing enough.




Read 149 times Last modified on Last modified on October 21 2023

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