BY ONOCHIE ANIBEZE, just back from Liberia
Vincent Enyeama put his position on the line on June 9 in Malawi at the Kamuzu Stadium when he gave Malawi a goal that denied Nigeria victory in the 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Nigeria led 1-0 through a goal scored by Gabriel Reuben in the 89th minute. And as Nigerians celebrated what they thought was a certain victory Enyeama dropped a harmless ball in front of an opponent who wasted no time to eqaulise and ‘thank’ him for the gift.
Enyeama was criticised by both the media and his teammates for that blunder that cast doubt over his fitness. Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi also frowned at his performance. Enyeama needed a brilliant outing to keep his number one position in Eagles.
The opportunity came in the 2013 Nations Cup qualifier against Liberia on Saturday. He conceded two cheap goals and must now leave the stage for Austin Ejide, the Israeli-based player who many even rate highly now and Chigozie Agbim, the local boy who keeps for Warri Wolves.
And so the building process of the national team under Stephen Keshi continues through elimination.
In February in Kigali, Rwanda Osaze Odewengie, Dickson Etuhu and Yakubu Aiyegbeni were so disappointing in Keshi’s competitive match that Vanguard reported that “it will be long before they can play for Eagles again. Osaze had played such a poor game against Guniea in the 2012 Nations Cup qualifier in Abuja that many accused him of playing a ‘vengeance’ game as he had issues with the then national team coach, Samson Siasia. But a repeat poor performance in Kigali meant he needed time to return to the national team. Keshi allowed him the time. It was so for Aiyegbeni, Etuhu and to some extent Joel Obi.
Enyeama may join them after his poor show in Liberia. In the 6th minute his timing for the ball was so poor that Liberia’s Grimes ran in to jab in a long ball. The goal was cheap and the second he conceded even cheaper. Sekou Oliseh saw his poor positioning and lobbed a ball that sailed in. Enyeama did not make any attempt to save the ball.
Some officials confirmed to Vanguard that Enyeama will be allowed some time out in the Eagles.