By Eddie Akalonu
It is not often that goalkeepers publicly come hard on their own. But with the not too well performance of the national team against their Tunisian opponents in the recent game in Abuja that ended 2-2, the reactions continue to be bitter. Thatâ€™s why former junior international goalkeeper, Ita Egbe has let out his fury at the nationâ€™s number oneÂ goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, over what he said was a â€œ below per performance in the 2010 World Cup qualifier.
For a player of his experience and standing I do fault him for both goals that undid us in that match,â€ he said while speaking on telephone from Calabar. First, there was a glaring distance from where the first goal came. For a keeper of his standing he has no excuse.
That meant he was badly positioned and lacked concentration for that goal to have been scored from a distance. Therefore, I have my doubts about his form. Secondly, the second goal conceded was duly his fault. He came out, paused and then fell to a side, thus allowing the Tunisian time and space to score, when he should have continued to narrow the angle and make that goal impossible.
His indecision caused that second goal, no doubt about it.â€ If he did, the angle from which the Tunisian scored, would have been covered and space made impossible for a goal to go through,â€ he stated.
Etta, who was a member of the first junior national team in 1979, playing alongside the likes of Henry Nwosu and team captain, Sylvanus Okpala and later had a successful career with both Calabar Rovers and Inwuanyanwu National until retirement and then ventured into club football management, also vented his anger at the generally poor attitude of the players.Â He said they did not give their best in that game against Tunisia hence the north Africans team came from behind to level up scores. â€œI canâ€™t imagine that in a game of that nature which we needed to win and progress in the qualifiers,Â the players let it slip off their hand in just five minutes to the end of the game, and allowed -in the second goalÂ and robbed the country of victory.
There is no excuse to give because they have not given out their best to the country despite every effort that was put inÂ making sure the best of the players came,â€ he stated Ita. â€œI deplore such attitude that was displayed and it robbed Nigeria of victory, especially when effort was made to make the team comfortable so as to perform but they failed.” Looking ahead, he agreed with suggestions that the road to the 2010 World Cup was not yet over for Nigeria in theÂ qualifiers, stating that there are still a few young players who could be called upon to play in the last two games.