Saturday, 28 October 2017

Enyeama Should Not Return! The Ex Goalie's Return Splits Nigeria Football Stakeholders

Faced with goalkeeping 'crisis', Super Eagles of Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr has not hidden his intention to recall former captain Vincent Enyeama to the national team.
However, his plan has been greeted with mixed reactions from some members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Executive Committee as well as other football stakeholders and the reasons are not far-fetched.

Following his verbal and physical confrontation with former coach Sunday Oliseh and his eventual expulsion from camp on October 16, 2015 in Belgium where the Eagles were preparing for the friendly games against DR Congo and Cameroon, Enyeama vowed never to keep goal for Nigeria again.

Although he is yet to organise a testimonial to seal his unofficial retirement, the former Super Eagles captain has not kept goal for the team since 2015 and several attempts by highly placed Nigerians like the present Senate President and the Chairman of Senate Committee on sports have failed to convince the goalkeeper to change his mind.

But all that is about to change now that it is becoming clearer that the goalkeeper is willing to bury the hatchet and represent Nigeria at the World Cup in 2018. And Rohr is ready to go the extra mile to get the more experienced goalkeeper to man the posts in Russia.

Even as Enyeama is highly favoured by the coach to return to the team, there are some hurdles in the path of the goalkeeper who is just trying to reassemble his career after he was declared surplus to requirement at his Ligue 1 club, Lille.

Apart from some members of the NFF Executive Committee who are not favourably disposed to the return of the goalkeeper, most football pundits also believe his presence will revive the crises that characterised his time in the national team.

For those who are not in support of the goalkeeper coming back to the team, he is arrogant and has a 'rebellious spirit' and will be a bad influence on the present Eagles who are willing to make sacrifices to fly the country's flag in Russia.

It is said Rohr has since declared that even if Enyeama returns, Mikel Obi will remain the substantive captain of the team. So going by the fact that it was the same captaincy tussle that caused the feud between Oliseh and the goalkeeper, there are fears that Enyeama would not be happy to relinquish the band to his junior in the national team.

As a matter of fact at the time that Enyeama represented Nigeria at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, Mikel was screening in the Golden Eaglets team. Furthermore, it is said a feeling may arise among the players that he is coming to reap where he did not sow.

It is an open secret that following the 'crisis' in the goalkeeping department after Carl Ikeme was diagnosed of leukaemia, desperate efforts were made to bring back the more experienced keeper but he was nowhere to be found.

However, by divine intervention, FC IfeanyiUbah's goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa rose to the occasion and Eagles picked seven out of nine points against Cameroon and Zambia to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The players may justifiably ask where was Enyeama when they were fighting for the ticket?. Apart from whether he would be welcomed by other members of the team, his present form is another problem is being questioned by those who feel strongly that bringing him back may be counter- productive.

For more than a year now, the goalkeeper has not been active and even if he gets a club now, he may not pick the right form before the 2018 World Cup. Thus, in the end, he might give the team Peter Rufai's France 98 performance.

Allafrica reports

*Let me ask this: If Nigeria had failed to qualify for World Cup, would Enyeama have agreed to return? Please and please, Enyeama should not return to the national team. He turned his back on  them when he was mostly needed, why coming back now to disturb Ikechukwu Ezenwa who suffered with the Super Eagles?

*He has retired from International football, and so be it! If Nigeria Football Federation needs good goalkeepers, they should go and scout for one. Besides we have good goalies all over the country looking for international recognition. Can't they (NFF) recognize them? Is it when they (the youngsters) struggle to make it, they (the NFF) will start claiming ownership? Please the NFF should stop dwelling on past glory. Enyeama has past his prime. Nigeria has great potentials.  Some of this youngsters were born footballers.

*See, if Rohr and the NFF don't know how to scout for players especially goalies, they should come and meet me I will show them the way. We need better and young keepers for the 2018 World Cup not old men.

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