Former Super Eagles goalkepeer Vincent Enyeama is 40 today . Born on Sunday 29th August 1982 , Vincent Enyeama’s career and place as the greatest Nigerian goalkepeer is presented in this article by SportsRation correspondent Nsikakabasi Akpan .
Undoubtedly one of the greatest African goalkeepers in history , his career stats when compared with the likes of Peter Rufai and Ike Shorumu will crown him as the greatest Nigerian goalkepeer of all time.
A career that began with the Defunct Ibom stars FC in 1999 reached star status when he joined Enyimba International FC in 2001.
Enyeama , alongside the likes of Obinna Nwaneri, Frimpong , David Tyakese , et al brought African Football down to Aba in 2003 and 2004 .
A brief and not too significant move to defunct Iwanyanwu National followed in 2004 .
In 2005 , having conquered Africa’s Premier club competition the CAF Champions League on two occasions , the Nigerian top flight league on three occasions and cemented his spot as Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama made the move to Isreal where he pitched tent with Bnei Yehuda.
Like an Evangelist, his superlative performances at Bnei Yehuda did not only attract interest from bigger clubs but also opened the door for his under study at Enyimba International FC Dele Aiyenugba to join Bnei Yehuda upon his transfer to Hapoel Tel Aviv.
At that stage of his career, Enyeama was famed for not only his goalkeeping heroics but also a goalscorer . The Ika born shot stopper scored 20 goals in his career , a significant return for a goalkepeer .
In 2011-2018 Vincent Enyeama starred for French Ligue One side Lille with a one year loan at Maccabi Tel Aviv producing a Isreali league title win in 2012.
After going 1062 minutes (11 consecutive matches) of football without conceding in 2013 the second highest in the French Ligue 1 history , Enyeama wrote his name in the history books. Till date no goalkepeer has reached same height .
At International level, Vincent Enyeama appeared a record setting 101 times for the Super Eagles from 2002 to 2015 , Winning the AFCON title in 2013 plus three bronze medals in 2004, 2006 and 2010.
Enyeama represented Nigeria at the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World cups plus a 2014 FIFA Confederation cup appearance in Brazil as Champions of Africa.
Enyeama’s disagreement with then Super Eagles manager Sunday Oliseh in 2015 and later with the management at Lille in 2018 resulted in his October 2015 International retirement and August 2018 departure from Lille by mutual consent.
His unceremonious retirement from active football nothwitstanding , Vincent Enyeama is in the exclusive list of Africa’s greatest Goalkeepers , an assertion backed by reigning FIFA Goalkeeper of the year Eduoard Mendy .
Mendy in a chat with Cameroon Magazine Carré named Vincent Enyeama among the top four greatest goalkeepers of all time .
Mendy said “Goalkeepers love Thomas N’Kono, of course. But recently, we had Tony Sylva, who is a true legend of Senegalese football.
“We had Carlos Kameni. We also had Vincent Enyeama. ”
At 40, Enyeama is a model example for young goalkeepers and his performances is still used as marker for who should be the Super Eagles undisputed first choice goalkepeer following years of unsuccessful search for his replacement .
Happily Married since 2006, Vincent Enyeama is currently spending his days off the football scene . There have been calls by Nigerian football fans for his inclusion in the Super Eagles coaching crew , but at 40 ‘ Life has just begun ‘ for the legendary shot stopper .