International

Enyeama to join African centurions

2015-03-25 08:54
Vincent Enyeama (Supplied)
Vincent Enyeama (Supplied)

Johannesburg - Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama will swell an exclusive group of African footballers to 24 Thursday by making his 100th international appearance.

Recently retired Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan is the most capped African with a world-record 184 appearances and 22 other footballers from the continent have at least 100 caps.

The Super Eagles are at home to Uganda Thursday and away to South Africa Sunday as part of a 28-match, seven-day friendly schedule involving African countries.

While preparing for the June kick-off of the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers will be uppermost in the minds of most coaches and footballers, personal glory beckons for Enyeama.

The 32-year-old who plays for French Ligue 1 outfit Lille has represented his country 99 times since a 2002 debut against Kenya.

And there is no venue where the best current African shot-stopper would prefer to reach 100 caps than the Akwa Ibom Stadium in his southern home city of Uyo.

"I am excited by the fact that reaching 100 caps will happen in my home town," said Enyeama.

"What a great honour.

"Nothing matches being recognised by your country. I am very excited at the prospect of reaching 100 caps."

Enyeama was part of the 2013 Cup of Nations-winning team and has also collected three bronze medals in the biennial African showpiece.

But he selects a 2010 World Cup group game against Argentina in Johannesburg as his most memorable international.

"We lost 1-0, but I was inspired and won the man-of-the-match award.

"Lionel Messi did not score and that was some sort of joy for me," said the star who played in Nigeria and Israel before joining Lille.

Former Super Eagles centre-back Joseph Yobo, who quit international football after the 2014 World Cup having reached 100 caps, is a huge fan of Enyeama.

"Vincent can match any goalkeeper in the world on his day. He can make unbelievable saves."

Read more on:    vincent enyeama  |  soccer
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