Enyeama will lead the goalkeepers for the Brazil run.
If there is one department that was predictable in the Super Eagles’ final list for the 2014 World Cup, it was the goalkeeping section where the trio of Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide and Chigozie Agbim, were selected to hold sway in-between the sticks for Nigeria.
As part of PREMIUM TIMES countdown to the Brazil 2014 World Cup, a profile of each of the three shot-stoppers is done.
The defenders, midfielders and forwards will follow in the coming days as we take a close look at the Nigerian players gunning for history in Brazil.
Since making his World Cup debut for the Super Eagles at the 2002 Korea /Japan edition in the game against the star-studded England side, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has never looked back and has consistently been a stand-out performer for Nigeria ever since.
Having grown in age, experience and indeed exposure, Enyeama who currently is the stand-in captain for the Super Eagles, is expected to play a key role in Brazil if the lofty ambitions of the African champions are to be realized.
The 31-year-old had a blistering season for his French club, Lille, and was rewarded with the award of the best African player in the French top flight for the just concluded season.
Starting virtually from the scratch, Enyeama’s first club was in his home state, Akwa Ibom, with Ibom Stars (1999-2000). He then moved to Nigerian giants, Enyimba (2001-2004), and won the CAF Champions League twice. A short stint with Heartland FC followed in 2005
He then embarked on his overseas career in 2005 when he joined Bnei Yehuda in Israel. His performances with the side were so impressive that Israeli club, Hapoel Tel Aviv, put in an offer and Enyeama made the short move across town. With Hapoel (2007-2011), he played in the UEFA Champions League and even managed to score a goal in the play-off round against Red Bull Salzburg.
He joined Ligue 1 club Lille in 2011, but failed to break into the first side and returned to Israel in 2012, where he joined Maccabi Tel Aviv on loan (2012-2013), winning the championship with them. He returned to Lille a year later and was made first choice goalkeeper by Coach Rene Girard and has not looked back since.
High on confidence, Enyeama in a recent interview suggested that the Eagles can surpass Ghana’s quarter final feat in Brazil.
He has 88 caps for the Super Eagles.
Full name: Vincent Enyeama
Date of birth: August 29, 1982
Place of birth: Kaduna, Nigeria
Height 1.82 m (5 ft 11 1⁄2 in)
Despite consistently forced to play second fiddle, Austin Ejide remains one of the most experienced players in the Super Eagles team to Brazil.
With Brazil 2014 being his third World Cup for Nigeria, Ejide’s greatest undoing before now has been injury at the eve of major competitions.
Based in Israel where he has somewhat carved a niche for himself, Ejide is looking more confident going to Brazil and many have passed a vote of confidence that he would be a dependable cover for first choice Enyeama.
Indeed, the bench role has since stuck on Ejide but he was able to step out of the shadows in the 2008 AFCON hosted in Ghana as German-born Nigeria handler, Berti Vogts, chose him ahead of Enyeama
in all of Super Eagles’ four games.
Ejide began his career with Gabros International in 1999 before he joined Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia in 2002 (t0 2006) and from there to SC Bastia of France (2006-2009), a second division side. He later played for Hapoel Petah Tikva (2009-2012) before he joined a premier division side in Israel, Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the 2012 season. He currently plays for the club and has 30 caps for the national team since 2001.
Full name: Augustine Amamchukwu Ejide
Date of birth: April 8, 1984
Place of birth: Onitsha, Nigeria
Height:1.89 m (6 ft 2 1⁄2 in)
Goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim is one the four Nigerian based players going to the World Cup.
He is seen as the third choice from the available pool of goal keepers.
Agbim, despite being a regular feature in the Eagles set-up in recent times, was under severe criticism for his below-par performance at the African Nations Championships, CHAN, as some argue he is not even the best in the Nigerian league.
Despite the criticisms, Coach Stephen Keshi stood his ground and is keeping faith with Agbim who currently plays club football for Gombe United in the Nigerian Professional Football League, NPFL.
The 29-year-old was part of the Super Eagles team that won the 2013 African Cup of Nations. He was also in goal for the Eagles when they won the Catalunya Cup against a Catalonia XI.
The former Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers goalkeeper has gained plenty of experience by just being a part of the senior national team and should be ready if called upon by the Stephen Keshi in Brazil.
Chigozie Agbim (Personal information)
Date of birth: 28 November, 1984
Place of birth: Gombe, Nigeria
Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)
Playing position: Goalkeeper
Current club: Gombe United F.C.
Agbim had earlier played for Court of Appeal F.C. (2001), Al-Merreikh SC (2004), Nigeria Port Authority FC (2005), Enugu Rangers(2006-2009), Warri Wolves FC (2009-2012), Enugu Rangers (2013).
He has 10 caps for the Super Eagles since 2012.