Super Eagles Captain, Vincent Enyeama, has pulled out of this weekend’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania to mourn his mother who passed on last weekend.
THISDAY learnt from an associate of the Lille LOSC of France shot-stopper yesterday that Enyeama who had earlier given his promise to
Eagles Coach, Sunday Oliseh, to be available for the game was forced to change his mind when the news of his mother’s death got to him.
“Vincent was only told of his mother’s death after his weekend game for his French club. With this, couple with the fact that as a catholic family the burial must be concluded in two weeks, he had to cancel all engagements including the game in Dar es Salaam,” revealed the source to THISDAY last night.
In Enyeama’s absence, the two other keepers in the team Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Carl Ikeme and Ikechukwu Ezenwa of Sunshine Stars of Akure are to be joined by late invite, Femi Thomas of Enyimba in the battle for who will be between the sticks against Tanzania on Saturday.
However, at a media session yesterday before Super Eagles fly out of Abuja today for Dar es Salaam, Oliseh who was not aware of Enyeama’s emotional state lamented the absence of the country’s first choice keeper, insisting that he (Oliseh) has been boxed into a corner.
“We don’t know why he pulled out but what I can confirm to you is that I have been boxed into a corner with his withdrawal,” stressed the former Ajax and Juventus star.
But we want to forge ahead,” he said, asking: “What happens if our best player falls sick? Ahmed Musa of CSKA will temporarily stand in as the team captain for the encounter against the Taifa Stars,” he revealed.
The Group G fixture is Oliseh’s first match in charge of the Eagles since he was appointed to the role in July. And it is definite the former midfielder will be under scrutiny as Nigeria cannot afford to miss two successive Africa Cup of Nations editions after missing at the last tournament in Equatorial Guinea early this year.
But the former international insisted he was not feeling the pressure, saying football is a game that can be won or lost.
“I am not under any pressure. The only time I felt the heat was against Bulgaria as a player at the World Cup in 1994. There won’t be pressure against Tanzania. We will take whatever we deserve- a win or a loss. Our objective is to qualify for Gabon 2017,” Oliseh quipped.
In the same vein, he echoed the preparedness of the team for the mission.
He said he had studied video clips involving Tanzania and was prepared to confront a combative East African team that is capable of giving Nigeria some surprises.
All the invited foreign based players are on ground and trained twice yesterday, except Joel Obi, who plays for Torino of Italy.