Vincent Enyeama on Saturday, June 13, officially became the most-capped Nigerian player as the game against Chad was his 101st appearance for the Super Eagles since making his debut for the national football team against Kenya in May 2002. At the time he was 20-year old.
Unlike when his team shockingly lost to Uganda during his 100th game, Enyeama kept a clean sheet on Saturday and also secured a vital win. The win made the France-based shot stopper excited as he was again voted goal-keeper of the year in the Nigeria Pitch Awards held after the match in Kaduna.
“I want to give all thanks to God for all these things. I wish I can give more to Nigeria, I really wish. I really desire to do more but at some point I will call it off but for now I want to say thank you for today.
“Thank you, thank you to Nigerians, and thank you thank you to every one,” Enyeama said in Kaduna.
Since his debut over 13 years ago, Enyeama has grown in leaps and bounds for both club and country.
Currently with French side, Lille, Enyeama is one of the few Nigerian players to have featured in three World Cup finals.
Enyeama has won three bronze medals with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations – 2004, 2006 and 2010. He also won the ultimate top prize at the 2013 edition in South Africa.
At the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Enyeama deputised for regular captain Joseph Yobo, who stayed on the bench for most of the competition.
On February 10, Enyeama led Nigeria to its third continental victory, keeping a clean sheet in a 1–0 defeat of Burkina Faso in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final.
He was named the first choice goalkeeper, conceding only four goals in six matches at the tournament.
As expected, Enyeama’s colleagues in the Super Eagles have been showering encomiums on their captain who they say is a shining example and worthy of emulation.
“He is a good friend and leader. I like the way he takes things concerning the team,” German-based defender Leon Balogun told PREMIUM TIMES.
One of the players, Willam Ekong also sang Enyeama’s praise in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES. He said the goalkeeper helps new players settle in fast.
“He is fun to be with, I like what I have seen of him so far. I hope he can go on and on for some more time,” Ekong stated.
Already, Enyeama has hinted that he might be quitting the national team after the AFCON 2017 finals in Gabon. Before the new record, Enyeama was tied with ex-Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo, on 100 appearances each for the Super Eagles.