Enyeama's Hand of God
Reports in the local media indicate that former Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has singled out Nigeria's 2010 encounter against Argentina in the world cup group stage encounter as his best game in Super Eagles colours.
I also feel that the 2010 World Cup encounter between Nigeria and Argentina was the match that catapulted Vincent Enyeama into Superstar status.
Before then, he was a very decent goalkeeper who could be trusted to do his job when called upon.
However, it was nothing short of miraculous that the encounter against Argentina ended 1:0 as the Argentines registered 19 goal attempts with some definitely destined for the back of the net but for Enyeama’s heavenly heroics.
“It was God that did it for me,” the former Lille man said afterwards.
“I had watched Messi in a few La Liga matches but God is my secret, my friend, he makes the difference in my life – he made me so calm out there.”
It had to have been God because I had never in my life seen such saves by any Nigerian goalkeeper before then and afterwards.
Coach Maradona wanted to obliterate Nigeria in this match. He unleashed a front (deadly) three of Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuaín and Messi, with Javier Mascherano and Juan Sebastián Verón sitting and the then-Newcastle pacey winger Jonás Gutiérrez as an unlikely right-back.
This was more than a statement of intent. Nothing but the ‘hand of God’ was going to prevent Nigeria from going down to a heavy loss in South Africa on this day.
Vincent Enyeama — later named man of the match – blocked, tipped and smothered almost everything that Argentina’s megastars threw at him. Only Gabriel Heinze’s sixth-minute header from a corner kick that seeped through which would ultimately proved decisive.
On that day, the hands of Enyeama were blessed, blessed enough to keep the scoresheet a respectable 1:0.
Earning him the ‘Man of the Match’ award was itself quite remarkable when you consider that, not only was Enyeama on the losing side, he also had world class players from Argentina to contend with.
It will go down as Enyeama’s finest hour in Super Eagles colours.