Nigeria’s Enyeama To Retire After 2017 AFCON

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

This Video Shows A Glimpse Into Enyeama’s Performances For Lille (Courtesy of ImEniGM4)

Nigeria national team goalkeeper and captain, Vincent Enyeama, has revealed his plans to retire from the Super Eagles after the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which will take place in Gabon.

The 32-year-old Lille goalkeeper has been a stalwart for the national team, becoming the second player to reach the elusive 100 cap mark for his country in March during a 1-0 loss to Uganda.

Having began his journey with the Super Eagles by debuting against Kenya in May 2002, Enyeama has played in five AFCON tournaments (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2013), as well as three World Cups in 2002, 2010 and 2014.

The 2014 African Player of the Year nominee has been ever-present for the Super Eagles in the past few years, forming a crucial element in a strong Nigerian national team that was able to conquer the continent at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa and qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where they were knocked out at the Second Round stage.

Final Competition For Enyeama

The talented keeper has now revealed that the next AFCON competition will be his last, after which he will hang up his boots and gloves for the Super Eagles.

“It’s impossible to play football forever and the next tournament in Gabon will be my last one,” Enyeama told BBCSport. “I’ve played in two finals, lost in 2004, won in 2013, and to win in 2017 is how I hope to be remembered. But more significantly we must not get ahead of ourselves because we need to qualify first.”

Enyeama will get the chance to record his 101st appearance for the Nigerians on Saturday when they take on Chad in a 2017 AFCON qualifier, allowing him to equal the record held by Joseph Yobo.

The keeper’s focus was not on the record, however, but on the opponents who stand between them and qualification for his last ever tournament.

“You can never underestimate any opponent in African football and we must treat Chad like other top oppositions in world football,” he stated. “Some of our fans are still upset and the only way to earn back their respect is to give them a reason to believe again,” the keeper added.

“We are all determined to qualify for the Nations Cup, and after the tournament I can say a proper goodbye. It crossed my mind to leave after the World Cup in Brazil but crucially now I want to leave on a high by going all the way with my country on a successful ride,” he concluded.