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One of the many subplots that preceded Nigeria’s return to the continental high table surrounded the issue of goalkeepers. Vincent Enyeama was, particularly during the 2010 World Cup when his agility and awareness kept Lionel Messi at bay, consistently considered among the finest "keepers on the continent." Since then, however, his stock has fallen, as his form has dipped, and a move to Europe, to Lille in France, has not worked out.
There was even talk of him being replaced as Nigeria’s number one for this tournament; many fans had lost faith in the stopper after a sloppy performance against Liberia in Monrovia, and the improving Austin Ejide (who wore the armband and excelled in two warm up games) led to suggestions that Enyeama would be dropped.
Ultimately we’ll never know what Stephen Keshi had planned for his goalkeepers, but the injury Ejide sustained before the tournament now seems an age away, with Enyeama having cemented his status as his nation’s number one.
Despite failing to prevent his Zambian counterpart Kennedy Mweene from scoring a penalty in their last match, Enyeama was at his best to keep out Saladin Said in Rustenburg. The stop was all the more crucial considering that at the time, Naija were only leading by one goal.
With scrutiny now leaving him and focusing on the suspicious defence in front of him, Nigerians can rest assured that in Enyeama, they once again have one of the continent’s finest custodians between the sticks.