By Toby Prince
Those who accused Super Eagles goalkeeper and skipper, Vincent Enyeama, of chickening out of Saturday’s AFCON 2017 qualifier against Tanzania owe him an apology.
It has emerged that the player’s reason for opting out of the match is the sudden loss of his mum.
His critics had suggested that his withdrawal was a fallout of the faceoff with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) over comments he made about the safety of the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna which hosted the 2-0 win over Chad in June
The 33-year-old Lille shot stopper, however, took to Instagram to explain to the world the “personal reason” that made him pull out of the key battle in Tanzania after earlier reports in the media had criticised his decision.
“I wish that this darkness didn’t come in daylight. I wish that I could turn back the hands of time. I wish, I just wish that I could take away this pain. Let the rain wash away this pain,” an emotional Enyeama wrote on Wednesday evening.
The player was not only saddened by his mother’s demise but also showed his frustration at not being able to represent his country in the forthcoming game against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania.
“So sorry I won’t make it out there to wear this shirt,” Enyeama wrote below an artist’s impression of himself in a Super Eagles shirt.
“So sorry that I won’t be standing there singing the anthem of my sweet NIGERIA. #WEARENIGERIA.
The former Enyimba man has been granted compassionate leave by his French side Lille so he can attend to his family issues.
Super Eagles Coach, Sunday Oliseh, had earlier lamented Enyeama’s withdrawal before the reason for the goalkeeper’s decision became public.
“The late withdrawal has put me in a tight concern,” Oliseh said on Wednesday.
“He asked to be withdrawn from the team. And the reason for that I don’t know. I think it’s best you ask the player.
“He’s a very classy goalkeeper but obviously we will not allow that deter us from our objectives.”
In Enyeama’s absence, Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, is now expected to make his Eagles debut in Dar es Salaam on Saturday afternoon.
He said he would hope to reproduce for Nigeria the form he has displayed at his English Championship club.
“I will just try and do what I do in my club,” he assured.
“I will not be under pressure but I will give my best. I am not going to try and be Vincent (Enyeama), but I will just try and play my own game and give my best.”
So sorry I won’t make it out there to wear this shirt.so sorry that I won’t be standing there singing the anthem of my sweet NIGERIA.#WEARENIGERIA.i wish that this darkness didn’t come in daylight.i wish that I could turn back the hand of time.i wish,I just wish that I could take away this pain.let the rain wash away this pain ???????