Former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Tunde Disu, on Monday in Lagos supported the recall of former Super Eagles captain, Vincent Enyeama by Coach Gernot Rohr.
Disu expressed his support in an interview with newsmen after reviewing the Eagles gaffer Rohr’s stance on the team’s goalkeeping situation.
The Eagles Franco-German tactician had in an interview said that Nigeria still needs a world class goalkeeper, casting shadows on the prospect of available goalkeepers in the team.
The team has yet to have a regular shot stopper since the former number one goalkeeper Carl Ikeme of Wolverhampton Wanderers was diagnosed of acute Leukaemia.
In his stead, Rohr called upon the South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi to action; only for the former to fail the test in the African Nations Cup qualifiers against Bafana Bafana in Uyo.
Akpeyi conceded two goals in the first match; the first major loss recorded in Rohr’s era as technical adviser, thereby limiting his chance of returning between the sticks.
During the crucial World Cup qualification against Cameroon, Rohr had to put his trust in Okechukwu Ezenwa which was successful as the local-based shot stopper helped with a clean sheet.
The match against Cameroon ended 4-0, while the return leg in Yaoundé ended 1-1.
On the contrary, many soccer pundits are of the opinion that Cameroon’s only goal was as a result of Ezenwa’s inexperience at handling strikers who might want a trick him.
Ezenwa, however, kept another clean sheet against all-determined Chipolopolo of Zambia a game which ended in a frosty 1-0 earning Nigeria the automatic qualification to the 2018 Mundial in Russia.
With Rohr’s eyes set on a good campaign in the World Cup, the gaffer is set to test the waters not only shopping for a more experienced goalkeeper.
This to him is necessary in order to have a permanent replacement for the ailing Ikeme, who may not be fit to play during the World Cup.
The Franco-German muted the idea of recalling the highly experienced Enyeama who already has two World Cup experiences under his belt with a caveat that the goalkeeper’s recall will be by his terms.
With many diverse opinions on the Enyeama’s recall, Disu, who had previously coached Enyeama during the age grade tournament in 1999, said the experience of the shot stopper was valuable.
“I know Enyeama very well; he started with me in the U-20 championships in 1999, but did not make the team in Ivory Coast due to some circumstances above him.
“He is a professional goalkeeper, he is stable, and one of the oldest goalkeepers in the country now. One thing about goalkeepers is that the older they are, the better they become.
“Enyeama is a disciplined goalkeeper who does not tolerate nonsense, if we are to look at his sacrifice for the country, how he has saved us, then, he merited the recall.
“He does not have the physique of Peter Rufai, but he is technically gifted and knows how to organise his defence line, he commands respect,’’ Disu said.
Disu, a former defunct Green Eagles Assistant Coach, said that the only snag about Enyeama is that he might be temperamental at times which could be tolerated by the team.
“The only negative I know about Enyeama is that he is sometimes too temperamental, he doesn’t like people taking him for granted, and he might be erratic in such condition.
“I really don’t want to dabble into his situation with Sunday Oliseh because they are both my boys; if Enyeama is recalled, we will see that he is a thorough bred professional.
“The only thing which might be a problem is how he will be able to cope in the team not being the captain. On the field, the most experienced players take the captains armband.
“Assuming Mikel the current captain leaves the field and passes it to Onazi, who also leaves the field who takes it? They are all junior to Enyeama, this issue of captainship must be settled,’’ he said.
Disu said that aside the hierarchical order of seniority in Eagles which might be altered if Enyeama was recalled; the goalkeepers experience could be valuable to Eagles campaign in the Mundial.
“Aside the leadership position which might be altered, if Enyeama is recalled, he will prove a good asset to the team as the young goalkeepers still need to learn from his techniques.
“Enyeama is such a good goalkeeper anyone will like to have in his team because he serves the ball well, he controls the ball and you can always hear his voice during the build-up.
“World Cup is a game for world star players and class, and we cannot afford to experiment by taking rookies to the centre stage, especially in the goalkeeping department.
“Although Enyeama is just returning from an injury but if he is fit enough, he can go to the World Cup, I can bet on his experience,’’ he said.