Super Eagles and Katsina United goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa has disclosed that one-time Nigeria national team goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama is the gloves-man he looks up to for inspiration.

Enyeama, widely regarded as one of the continent’s greatest ever goaltender, retired from the Super Eagles after 14 years of meritorious service. The former Enyimba International FC of Aba’s Number 1 won three consecutive Nigeria Premier League titles and two consecutive CAF Champions League trophies at the turn of the millennium before moving to Europe.

He equally excelled in Europe where he claimed several team and individual honours including the Israeli Premier League which he won with two different clubs and also the Israeli Footballer of the Year award in 2009.

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Another successful spell followed with Lille in France where Enyeama remarkably came within 114 minutes of equalling Gaëtan Huard’s Ligue 1 goalkeeping record, set in 1993, of playing 1,176 minutes without conceding a goal.

But his greatest moment of all came in 2013 when the two-time CAF Champions League Player of the Year led the Super Eagles to her third African Cup of Nations triumph in South Africa.

It is thus not surprising when Ezenwa named the accomplished shot-stopper as the role model around whom he has moulded his career.

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“My favourite goalkeeper that gives me motivation is Vincent Enyeama,” Ezenwa said in a video interview on the Super Eagles Twitter handle.

“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.

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“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, 31, is presently deep in fierce competition with Francis Uzoho, Maduka Okoye and Daniel Akpeyi to determine who will be Super Eagles Number 1 goalkeeper.

 

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