Enyeamalille

All Eyes On Enyeama Ahead 100th Cap For Nigeria

Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama will be making history on many fronts tonight when Nigeria confront Uganda in an international friendly at the world class Akwa Ibom International Stadium in Uyo.

Apart from swelling an exclusive group of African footballers to 24 by making his 100th international appearance,Enyeama will also be playing against Uganda for the very first time.

His previous 99 matches for Nigeria at senior level include a number of clashes with East African countries, including Ethiopia amd Kenya, but none against Uganda.

When Nigeria faced Uganda in the qualifying rounds for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Austin Ejide was in goal.

Recently retired Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan is the most capped African with a world-record 184 appearances and 22 other footballers from the continent have at least 100 caps.

The Super Eagles are at home to Uganda tonight and away to South Africa Sunday as part of rebuilding the team after the fiasco that trailed their non-qualification for the AFCON in Equatorial Guinea in January.

While preparing for the June kick-off of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers will be uppermost in the minds of the Nigeria Football Federation and the technical crew of the team, personal glory beckons for Enyeama.

The 32-year-old, who plays for French Ligue 1 outfit Lille, has represented Nigeria 99 times since a 2002 debut against Kenya.

And there is no venue where the best current African shot-stopper would prefer to reach 100 caps than the Akwa Ibom Stadium in his southern home city of Uyo.

“I am excited by the fact that reaching 100 caps will happen in my home town,” said Enyeama. “What a great honour.

“Nothing matches being recognised by your country. I am very excited at the prospect of reaching 100 caps.”

Enyeama was part of the 2013 Cup of Nations-winning team and has also collected three bronze medals in the biennial African showpiece.

Meanwhile the Super Eagles will hope to improve their head-to-head record against the Cranes of Uganda tonight.

The Eagles have won two and lost three of the previous six meetings.

The first and last clashes between Nigeria and Uganda at senior level ended in 2-1 wins for the Cranes.

On March 14, 1978, Nigeria lost an Africa Cup of Nations semi final to Uganda 1-2 in Ghana, with both goals scored by Phillip Omondi. The last time both teams squared off was on June 2, 2007, the Cranes coming from behind to win 2-1 after John Utaka had put Nigeria ahead in a 2008 Nations Cup qualifier in Kampala.

In-between, Uganda won a friendly match 1-0 in Kampala on September 26, 1981; the Eagles won a Cup of Nations qualifier 2-0 in Lagos on August 28, 1992 and both teams drew 0-0 in Kampala on July 17, 1993.

The two teams’ clash in Abeokuta on March 24, 2007 sticks in the memory: it took a last-gasp Nwankwo Kanu header for Nigeria to earn a 1-0 win.

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