Cyril C. NwokejiTuesday, October 13, 2015



Vincent Enyeama


he die is cast; the deed is done; the reality is: Vincent Enyeama, is no more Super Eagles' captain; worse still, he is no more a member of the Super Eagles; much worse: he was virtually thrown out of the Super Eagles' camp, as a concequence of an altercation with the Super Eagles' gaffer: Coach Sunday Oliseh!

How did an arguement involving the former skipper and his coach get out of control? Why was former Skipper Enyeama, virtually thrown out of the Super Eagles' camp and consequently out of the Super Eagles? How come things got so bad between the former skipper and his former coach? One can go on and on with posers as to why things got so bad.

Posers alone don't provide answers, yours sincerely will attempt an analysis:

Meethinks, Vincent Enyeama, to a great extent got himself in this mess. He should have listened to his body signals and left the Super Eagles when the ovation was loudest. He told the press that he contemplated leaving the team, in the aftermath of Nigeria's elimination from AFCON 2015, after years of meritorious services to the Super Eagles and the Nation; but was persuaded by friends and family, to hang on a little while longer. He listened to them, ignoring his body's signals; that with benefit of hindsight was a huge mistake. Those increasingly negative body signals, had negative consequences on his motivation for the Super Eagles. Vincent Enyeama's latest act of indiscipline, while on duty with the Super Eagles, wasn't the first.

Vincent Enyeama, a hitherto highly discipline Super Eagles' player, started 'flirting' with indiscipline, while erstwhile Coach Samson Sia Sia, was in charge. Towards the end of Coach Sia Sia's tenure, he was involved in a heated argument with the erstwhile coach, in a manner the erstwhile coach of the Super Eagles, considerd disrespectful, and was consequently dropped from the team, for the last two matches under Coach Sia Sia's watch.

He was 're-enstated' by Coach Keshi, who took over from Coach Sia Sia. The indisciplined aspect of him reared it's ugly head again when he made a very unfortunate statement about the choice of Kaduna, as venue of the Super Eagles' last competitive home match. The NFF, apparently, moved to not only strip him of the Super Eagles' captaincy, but to exclude him from the team entirely; but paradoxically, for the intervention of Coach Oliseh, who wanted him in his team. The old skipper showed his indisciplined behaviour, with regards Super Eagles, once again, when he reported late for Super Eagles duty this month in Belgium, an act understandably, considerd disrecpectful and unacceptable to Coach Oliseh, more especially, considering the supposed exemplary role, Vincent Enyeama ,was supposed to play in the Super Eagles as skipper! Coach Oliseh, consequently, chided him, and the consequence of which is the reality: Vincent Enyeam's exit from the Super Eagles!

While one apportions the greater blame to Vincent Enyeama, for his indisciplined behaviour, while on national assignment; Coach Oliseh, in my considerd opinion, is not free from blame.

The Super Eagles gaffer, didn't handle the matter with the needed professionalism expected of a Super Eagles' coach. He allowed emotions to get the better part of him - immaturity!

This is one pit fall Coach Oliseh must avoid, if he wants to succeed as Super Eagles' coach. He must learn to control his temperament; learn to canalise it, in such a way that doesn't negatively affect his interests! A coach has the greatest responsibility to the team, and is looked upon by his players for leadership. When the coach fails to show mature leadership, as was obviously the case, in the Super Eagles' camp, in Belgium, the Super Eagles' family could be negatively affected. Some of the Super Eagles players will certainly not be happy with the treatment of Enyeama - his being virtually bumped out of the team - after 13 years of meritorious services to his father land! The question on their minds, could be: who will be the next to be given such ill treatment? Certainly, notwithstanding, Vincent Enyeama's indisciplined conduct, which led to this problem in the first place, Coach Oliseh should have shown more respect to his skipper, while still standing firm on the decisions, he took in the aftermath of Vincent Enyeama's indisciplined behaviour. A private discussion with Vincent Enyeama, would have been better than openly chiding him, and openly stripping him of the captaincy. And of course the concomittant calling up of security detail to bump out Vincent Enyeama, as a consequence of the faulty handling of the situation by Coach Oliseh, would have been avoided. A player who served his country generally well for 13 years deserved better treatment!

In conclusion: yours sincerely, would urge Coach Oliseh, to work seriously on his famed temperament, that got him in trouble in the past as a player. He is now the coach of the Super Eagles and can no longer afford such brazen acts of amateurism! No doubt the Super Eagles family would somewhat be fractured as a consequence of this latest problem. The onus is thus on Coach Oliseh, to move fast and repair the cleavage lines in the Super Eagles family; and some time in the future organise a reconciliation meeting with Vincent Enyeama, with a view to ironing out the rough edges in their mutual relationship and thus send a more positive signal to the Super Eagles players that their services to the team would constantly be appreciated!

Vincent Enyeama, on the other hand, no doubt did his best for his father land, over a period of 13 years as Super Eagles player; rising to captain the team. He is one of only two players to reach a century of caps, for the Super Eagles; he is actually the most capped player with 101 caps! He participated in five Nations' cup tournaments: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013; winning three bronze medals and the title in 2013; when he was voted the best goalkeeper in Africa! He participated in three World cup tournaments: 2002, 2010 and 2014; and won the "man of the match " award, in the first two World cup games of the Super Eagles, in 2010. He is the first Nigerian goalkeeper to play regularly for a top European side; apart from stints in Israel, and of course his home country Nigeria. He no doubt raised Nigeria's goalkeeping standards to newer and better heights. He has no doubt had an illustrious international career and should consider the Belgium incident, as an unfortunate foot note in his illustrious career with the Super Eagles. He will no doubt be remembered as one of the best Super Eagles players ever!