Nigeria captain and most experienced player, Vincent Enyeama has opted out of the national team as they travel to Dar es Salaam to face Tanzania in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match on Saturday, coach Sunday Oliseh has revealed.
In what is Oliseh’s first game in charge of the Super Eagles, the 101-cap goalkeeper has told the technical crew he won’t be coming.
“[Enyeama] asked to be withdrawn from this game, for which reason I don’t know, I think you have to ask him personally,” Oliseh told media on Wednesday in Abuja.
“The late withdrawal has put me in a very tight situation because I must confess that the task ahead of us is a very difficult one and I didn’t need this extra burden.
“We’re practically starting this team from the scratch, it’s not very pleasant but that’s life,” he said.
Enyeama had been embroiled in a battle with the Nigeria Football Federation after June’s qualifier against Chad when he spoke about security fears in host city Kaduna.
Even though Oliseh stood in stout defence of the Lille goalkeeper when the NFF threatened to ban him from the national team, it seems Enyeama will not be taking the olive branch handed out to him.In his stead, 22-year-old striker Ahmed Musa is tipped to captain the side, albeit in an interim capacity until the situation about Enyeama’s future with the national team is resolved.
The CSKA Moscow striker, who has the highest number of caps in the absence of John Obi Mikel, has been in top form, scoring five goals in the Russian top flight this season.
“I’m not under any pressure to lead the team because I have done that against South Africa [in March 2015] and by the grace of God we’re going over there for the three points,” Musa said.
In goal, Oliseh would hope newly invited Carl Ikeme of Wolverhampton Wanderers steps up to the plate and makes it count against the Taifa Stars.
“I’m just enjoying being here to train with the boy and the coach,” Ikeme said when asked about the pressure of stepping into Enyeama’s big shoes.
Nigeria will fly out to Dar es Salaam on Thursday for the game against Tanzania.
The Super Eagles need a win to keep up with Group G leaders Egypt who play away to Chad in Ndjamena.