EXCLUSIVE By Johnny Edward:
Completesportsnigeria.com can exclusively report today the real story behind the clash between Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh and (former) captain Vincent Enyeama on Tuesday night.
A source within the team's camp in Belgium, who witnessed the incident, narrated the dramatic confrontation that led to the initial expulsion and recall of Enyeama.
While the story doing the rounds is that the battle started because Oliseh shouted down Enyeama while the Lille keeper was trying to explain his late arrival in camp, Completesportsnigeria.com learnt that was not exactly how it went down.
Oliseh, according to our source, had no issue with Enyeama arriving in camp on Tuesday instead of Monday, since the coach was aware that the keeper was recently bereaved and buried his late mum over the weekend.
But the clash started when, while holding a meeting with the players after their evening training session which Enyeama attended but did not participate in, Oliseh mentioned Ahmed Musa as the team captain. Enyeama was said to have rudely interrupted the coach's speech at this point, the Lille keeper insisting that he was the captain, not Musa.
This interruption apparently riled Oliseh, who ordered Enyeama to let him (Oliseh) address his players in peace. But Enyeama continued talking, raising his voice at the coach.
When Oliseh could not take it anymore, he ordered that Enyeama leave the venue of the meeting as he felt the keeper was undermining his (Oliseh's) authority.
When Enyeama refused to leave, Oliseh asked for the goalkeeper to be forcibly removed from the Verviers Hotel camp by security men.
But five senior players in the squad: Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Ahmed Musa, Elderson Echiejile and Emmanuel Emenike, waded in and all went to Oliseh's room to plead on behalf of Enyeama.
Also there were telephone calls from the Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick and even some big Nigerian politicians to have the matter resolved.
"Enyeama was rude to Oliseh, no doubt. Oliseh has so many issues to deal with, especially the inability of six home-based players to get visas to join the squad, and the possibility of Godfrey Oboabona missing the match, and he doesn't need this additional distraction " a top official told Completesportsnigeria.com, before corroborating the first source's narration of events..
"The embarrassment he got from Enyeama in the presence of the other players was uncalled for and disappointing.
"Oliseh just announced that Ahmed Musa remains his captain and Enyeama flared up. He was told his response wasn't needed by the coach but Enyeama was angered and would not back down.
"He was asked to excuse the meeting and when he didn't, Oliseh asked for him to be bundled out of the team's camp, contrary to reports in the media that Enyeama was asked to shut up while trying to explain his late arrival, which wasn't even an issue.
"For goodness sake, a coach has the right to pick his captain for the team. New coaches do it all the time."
The source went further to explain that for Oliseh to drive down to Lille at the start of the Ligue 1 season to discuss the rebuilding process of the Super Eagles with Enyeama shows how much he respects the former Enyimba star.
"Oliseh wasn't given the respect he deserved. He (Oliseh) is not a saint and might not be completely blameless, but Enyeama should respect the coach; he is the boss," the source added.
There were also hints from the team's camp that Oliseh was not happy that Enyeama arrived early enough to train with the team on Tuesday, only to spend the entire time chatting with team secretary Dayo Enebi, asking questions about the new players in the squad, while Carl Ikeme was the only other goalkeeper in camp and the team would need two for a full session.