Vincent Enyeama: How Sunday Oliseh’s decision to strip goalkeeper of captaincy forced retirement

Vincent Enyeama has opened up on his time with the Super Eagles, claiming he was treated like ‘used material’.

Two years after helping the team to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations title, Nigeria was met with surprising news as he announced his retirement from international football.

He was the Super Eagles’ most-capped player at the time, having made 101 appearances for the national team.

Vincent Enyeama, Super Eagles, Nigeria, Sunday Oliseh, Ahmed Musa
Vincent Enyeama announced his international retirement in 2015. Photo: Aurelien Meunier
Source: Getty Images

Since he hung up his boots, successive coaches have struggled to get the best pair of hands to man the goalpost. Following his recent comments, Nigerian Street takes a look at the events that led to Enyeama’s retirement.

Sunday Oliseh strips Enyeama of captaincy

During his eight-month reign as the Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh decided to strip Enyeama of the captaincy, claiming the goalkeeper was already considering retirement.

The incident came while Nigeria was camped in Belgium for friendly matches against DR Congo and Cameroon.

Enyeama had arrived late to the camp having just participated in his mother’s burial. Oliseh had claimed the shot-stopper was given a special welcome and was treated to a good reception.

He told ESPN at the time:

“We were very happy to see him. He had just buried his mum and to be honest, I didn’t even expect him to be in camp. I thought he would call and say he was staying back to deal with family issues.

“We are Africans and we know that in times like this, a lot of family stuff comes up, and for someone like him, it would be even harder. So he could have been excused if he had stayed back.”

Oliseh, Enyeama involved in row
At the post-match dinner, the coach was said to have blasted the players, citing poor training and saying they lacked fire and hunger.
Oliseh then announced that going forward, Ahmed Musa – who had been acting in Enyeama’s absence – would be the new skipper.
Enyeama is said to have protested the decision and demanded an explanation, but instead, he was shown the door by the head coach:
“I told him that this was not the right time. That we could discuss it later. But he kept insisting loudly that he wanted to talk,” Oliseh said in 2015.
“So I told him we could either leave the hall for him, or he would have to leave. When he continued, I opened the door and asked him to leave. Some of the other players, Musa, [Emmanuel] Emenike, [John Obi] Mikel, and [Ogenyi] Onazi were holding him and asking him to calm down. You can confirm from any of them.”

Amaju Pinnick wades in on Enyeama

The then-NFF president, Amaju Pinnick was said to have called the coach to try and resolve the issue by allowing Enyeama to remain with the team.

However, the coach would not budge on his decision to strip him of the captaincy.

“On three separate occasions when we talked, including before the Tanzania game, he kept talking about retirement. That was when I made up my mind to appoint a captain I could count on for the long run,” Oliseh explained.

Enyeama announced his retirement

On October 8 that year, Enyeama took to Instagram to announce that he had retired from international football, much to the surprise of Nigerian fans.

“I have fought a good fight for more than 13 years. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. I am out of the team.”

Personal honours

  1. CAF Champions League Player of the Year: 2003, 2004
  2. Footballer of the Year in Israel: 2009
  3. UNFP Player of the Month: October 2013, November 2013
  4. Prix Marc-Vivien Foe: 2014
  5. Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament: 2004, 2013
  6. Goalkeeper of the Year at Nigeria Pitch Awards: 2013, 2014
  7. King of the Pitch at Nigeria Pitch Awards: 2014
  8. Goal Nigeria Player of the Year: 2014
  9. IFFHS CAF Men’s Team of the Decade 2011–2020
  10. IFFHS Greatest African Goalkeeper of all Time

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