Enyeama’s Super Eagles Days Numbered? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Enyeama’s Super Eagles Days Numbered?

Posted: Jun 29, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Augustine Akhilomen Lagos

Super Eagles captain and first choice goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, has been in the news of late for the wrong reasons.



He has suddenly found himself in the black book of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over his unguarded statement that Kaduna was not safe to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria and Chad. The match, which Nigeria won 2-0, ended without any crisis.

Despite apologising to the good people of Kaduna and the governor, Nasir El-Rufai, the NFF summoned him before its disciplinary committee last Tuesday, though the player failed to honour the invitation on the premise that he was not invited.

“I respect my country and those in charge of our football, which is why I find the whole thing strange. As the captain I only raised our concerns about the venue before our game which didn’t go down well with the football authority.” Enyeama said.

“I was told to apologise for my comments, which I did immediately and they told me that’s fine. I only received a letter cautioning me about it [my comments] and to avoid a repeat of such.

“Personally, as it was resolved in-house I thought that was the end of the matter. But I only found out about a disciplinary hearing in the media but I didn’t get any letter to that effect.”

But the NFF countered on Thursday, saying that the player was indeed invited. NFF, through its head of media, Ademola Olajire, said that the federation employed the same line of communication when the player is being invited for all national assignments.

Olajire, said:”I can assure you on good authority that Enyeama was sent an invitation letter by the NFF.

“The invitation to appear before the committee was sent to him through the channel that we normally send him invitations to Super Eagles matches.

“The disciplinary committee is a judicial body, so whether Eneyama appears or not they would make their decision.”

Bu t what is worrisome is the stance by NFF that whether he attends the disciplinary committee or not, the player will face the music.

The disciplinary committee vice chairman, Iyke Igbokwe, said that Enyeama, would not go unpunished for failing to appear before the NFF Disciplinary Committee hearing.

“Without Enyeama Nigerian football will move on but we must instill discipline in the system. After all, before Enyeama there was Ike Shorunmu, Peter Rufai, Best Ogedengbe and there was even Emmanuel Okpala.”

With this development, could this mean that Enyeama’s career in the senior national team is over?

“Enyeama may have ended his international career by snubbing the committee,” said an NFF source.

“He has set a bad precedence for the team and that will come with a big penalty.”

Has the NFF considers the implication of getting the player out of the team at all cost?

Enyeama has played in three World Cups-2002, 2010, 2014- and five Nations Cups- 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013. The former Enyimba goalkeeper, who has become a household name in Nigeria has received several individual accolades such as CAF Champions League Player of the Year: 2004, Footballer of the Year in Israel: 2009, 2014 Marc Vivien Foe Award winner and King of The Pitch Award: 2014.

He is the most capped Nigerian with 101 appearances. Are we going to through a player with such experience away without considering the implication of such on the team? Who will replace him among available goalkeepers? Is it Austine Ejide or Daniel Akpeyi or Theophilus Afelokha or Chigozie Agbim or David Obiazor or Ikechukwu Ezenwa that will be called upon as replacement? None of these players have shown that sort of confidence that is Enyeama’s biggest asset.

Will his sudden exit not impact negatively on the team’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification? How do you expect other players to react when their captain is treated like a common criminal, when in essence he just aired the players’ view by querying the safety of Kaduna?

Without doubt, Enyeama’s commitment to national duty cannot be questioned. It will be a ‘sorry’ state if Nigeria must have to battle for a place in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations without him because of his invaluable experience.

According to former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dosu Joseph, sanctioning or expelling him is not in the best interest of the team and the country.

“I won’t advice the NFF to expel Enyeama now that the team is already in the thick of its 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. We need our best players and Enyeama remains the safest hand in the country, with due respect to other goalkeepers.

“Both parties should take the situation easy and learn to forge ahead in the interest of the team. Nigeria needs Enyeama and vice versa. No matter what must have happened I believe things can still be amended.”

Former Super Eagles captain, Sunday Oliseh, also added his voice to the issue. He said in an interview that the NFF should leave the player alone.

According to Oliseh, Enyeama as the captain has every right to air his views on any issue that concerns the team.

“As the captain, he aired his opinion that I think should be respected.”