The Nigerian goalkeeper continues to hold on to the memories of their triumphant adventure in South Africa, seven years after their surprising victory.
Vincent Enyeama has explained that the Super Eagles that lifted the 2013 African Cup of Nations trophy was more a ‘street team’ than a great team while crediting the impact of late tactician Stephen Keshi for inspiring them to victory.
Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 edition of the AFCON, and many fans refused to raise their hopes when Keshi led an average-looking Super Eagles side to Nelson Mandela’s country a year later.
Little had been seen of players like Kenneth Omeruo, Ogenyi Onazi, Sunday Mba, and Emmanuel Emenike before that tournament, with Chelsea duo of Victor Moses and Mikel Obi, Fenerbahce’s Joseph Yobo, and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Enyeama the only big stars in the squad.
Compared to the Super Eagles group of Austin Okocha, Finidi George, Sunday Oliseh, Ike Shorunmu, Taribo West, among others, that Jo Bonfere took to a runners-up spot at Ghana-Nigeria 2000, there just was not enough star quality.
But Keshi’s team overturned all predictions, defeating fancied foes like Didier Drogba’s Ivory Coast, Seidou Keita’s Mali, and Jonathan Petroipa’s Burkina Faso to claim Nigeria’s third continental trophy.
Enyeama points out that the Super Eagles won because the team’s togetherness and Keshi’s man-management skills compensated for their limited individual talents.
“We were a small family. We were not the best set like the golden generation of the Amokachi, Jay Jay, Finidi George, Peter Rufai, but we had a very great bond that you would love to be part of,” Enyeama told Bioreports.
“Yobo was there, it was amazing, Osaze was there, Ike Uche was there, Ideye was there, Emenike was there, it was joy. I’m so happy to have been part of that group.
“We now had a correct man (Keshi) as coach. Guy man for real. He was good and could relate well with players.
“You know there are some coaches that are boss. They are the boss. You know… this was guy man, and probably that’s one of the reasons we won that cup. Because we were like a street team, we were like that family.”