Monday Jan 20, 2020. 14:00
Nigeria national team goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has revealed that fellow gloves-man Vincent Enyeama is his role model and an inspiration for his career.
Enyeama has long been regarded as one of Africa’s best goalkeepers, with the 37-year-old racking up over 100 caps for Nigeria and winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations as the team’s on-field skipper (squad captain Joseph Yobo saw relatively little playing time in the tournament).
He also represented the Super Eagles at four other AFCONs, the 2002, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and the 2013 Confederations Cup, while his club career has included successful spells with Enyimba, Israel’s Hapoel Tel Aviv and French side Lille.
Ezenwa is very much one of the leading candidates to be Nigeria’s established number one (he competes with the likes of Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi for the honour) and has revealed how much of a role Enyeama has played in his career thus far.
“My favourite goalkeeper that gives me motivation is Vincent Enyeama,” Ezenwa said in a video interview on the Super Eagles Twitter handle, as quoted by Nigeria’s Complete Sports.
“The first time in the Nigerian Professional Football League, in 2006, when I signed my first professional contract, everything he did then when he was at Enyimba, that’s the same way I was dressing – the cutting of jersey and every other thing.
“I love him so much, he’s my mentor, even to this day I keep talking to him, trying to learn more from him because from watching him play for the country he gives me so much joy because there is this charisma in him.
“You will never see him panic, the confidence in him that he carries to a game is what I’ve always learned from him and I think it’s paying off for me and he’s a man I will never forget.”
Ezenwa is currently on the books of Nigerian Premier League team Katsina United.