Enyeama relieved to return to Israel
Posted: Aug 11, 2012
After his misadventure with French side Lille where he sat out the whole season without a single Ligue 1 action, Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama’s loan move to Isreali team Maccabi Tel Aviv during week was indeed a good news.
It would be recalled that Enyeama moved to France last summer from Hapoel Tel Aviv but was forced to play second fiddle to French international goalkeeper, Mickael Landreau, whose splendid form ensured the Nigerian was on the bench for the 36 Ligue 1 games last season.
And with Lille contracting Steeve Elana from Brest to provide extra competition in the coming season, Enyeama needed no palm-reader to predict he would be in for greater spell on the bench prompting his loan move.
Enyeama’s Lille experience can best be described as a nightmare for a keeper whose quality is never in doubt, having represented Nigeria in two editions of the FIFA World Cup.
However, Nigerian goalkeepers’ ratings have been at an all time low in recent years and Enyeama’s travail only brings to the fore the downward spiral which has seen most of our goalkeepers plying their trades mostly in the backwater European leagues.
Just during the week, Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi was quoted as saying he was not bothered by Enyeama’s predicament while with Lille, maintaining the keeper remains Nigeria’s number one on account of his experience, attitude and rapport with the rest of the players. This is simply an act of diplomacy by Keshi to protect his player which is the norm for coaches but can hardly be justified.
But with Enyeama returning to familiar terrain in Israel where he was named the Footballer of the Year in 2009, the keeper, Keshi and Nigerian football fans can heave a sigh of relief that their safest pair of hands won’t be idle in the coming season, especially with the Eagles looking to stage a return to the African Cup of Nations next January.
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