In football, strikers, specifically the goal-scorers get the most of the attention. After all, goals win matches. However, the importance of a good goalkeeper can’t be overemphasized. A good goalkeeper will do all they can to prevent their team from conceding.
The Nigerian Super Eagles have had some very good goalkeepers over time. In this article, we’ll be looking at the best Super Eagles goalkeepers of all time:
1. Vincent Enyeama
Vincent Enyeama is celebrated as the best Nigerian goalkeeper of all time. He’s also the most capped Nigerian player with 101 caps. In other words, no other player has worn the Nigerian football jersey more than him. Enyeama made hos debut for the Super Eagles in 2002.
By 2013, he was made captain of the squad. He retired from international football in 2015. The talented goalkeeper was part of the Super Eagles squad that won the African Cup of Nations in 2013. He won the Pitch Awards goalkeeper of the year award consecutively in 2013 and 2014.
2. Peter Rufai
Nigeria first went to the World Cup in 1994. That year, Peter Rufai captained the squad which was eliminated in the quarter finals. He also played for Nigeria in the 1998 World Cup. In total, he made 65 appearances for the Super Eagles.
Not many Nigerian goalkeepers can boast of finding the back of the net. However, Peter Rufai can. He scored the last goal in Nigeria’s 6 – 0 win against Ethiopia in a CAN Qualifier. Peter Rufai helped Nigeria win the 1994 African Cup of Nations. In the 80s, he was in his prime.
3. Bassey Akpan
Akpan was invited to the Nigerian under-17 team for the 2001 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations qualifiers in 2000 as a result of his performances in the Nike International Premier Cup in Paris and Barcelona in 1998 and 1999.
With a 3–0 victory over Burkina Faso on March 3, 2001, he led the Golden Eaglets to their first continental title at the 2001 African U-17 Championship in Seychelles. For the Super Eagles, he’s made just a total of 10 appearances. In a 5–2 triumph against Congo DR in 2010, he made his senior debut for the Super Eagles
4. Austin Ejide
On June 16, 2001, Ejide made his Nigerian debut against Namibia. He has been chosen to three FIFA World Cup squads: Japan and South Korea in 2002, South Africa in 2010, and Brazil in 2014. Ejide has also played for the Super Eagles in five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments including 2013 which Nigeria won.
In all four of the Super Eagles’ matches at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria coach Berti Vogts chose Ejide over Vincent Enyeama as his first choice goalkeeper.
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5. Ikechukwu Ezenwa
Ezenwa made 21 appearances for the Nigerian team. He played in the qualifying games for the Nigeria U-23 team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Coach Sunday Oliseh gave him the opportunity to join the Nigeria Super Eagles in 2015.
Following the injury of Carl Ikeme, Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeeper, he was called up by Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr for the World Cup and Nations Cup qualifiers and handed the number one shirt. He was part of the Nigeria 2019 AFCON team that came back with bronze.
6. Francis Uzoho
At the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Uzoho was a member of the Nigerian under-17 team. He was Dele Alampasu’s direct backup at the tender age of 14. Uzoho was called up to the Nigerian senior team for the first time in October 2017. He made his full international debut in a 4–2 friendly triumph over Argentina.
Francis was part of the Nigeria 2018 World Cup Squad and he was the first-choice goalkeeper at the time. He was a member of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations team.
7. Moses Effiong
At number 7, we have Moses Effiong and with him we go back to the 80s. Moses who played for Sharks FC and Shooting Stars FC at club level was Nigeria’s goalkeeper during the 1980 African Cup of Nations. Nigeria won the AFCON that year and it was for the first time.
In other words, he, along with Emmanuel Okala were the first Nigerian Goalkeepers to lift the AFCON Trophy. Moses Effiong also helped the Super Eagles win the WAFU Cup in 1983 and in 1984.
8. Emmanuel Okala
Emmanuel Okala is another ex-Nigerian goalkeeper. His playing days were from 1972 to 1980. He retired just after Nigerian won their first AFCON trophy. At Youth Level, Emmanuel Okala played for the Onitsha Red Devils and afterwards for Enugu Rangers.
Emmanuel was so good as a goalkeeper that he was named the footballer of the year in 1978. Two years later, he would go on to win the AFCON with Nigeria.
9. Dosu Joseph
Remember Nigeria’s great performance in the Olympics Tournament in 1996. Well, Dosu Joseph was the Goalkeeper which makes him part of the Dream Team. Notably, he was the only Nigerian based player to make the 1996 Olympic squad.
Although he was the least experienced of the three goalkeepers, he was named the team’s first choice goalie. He went on to play three more international games for Nigeria after winning the Olympics Gold with the Super Eagles at the 1996 Olympics.
10. Sunday Rotimi
Sunday Rotimi was a player of the Nigerian national team from 2001 to 2004. He received five caps in all. Sunday Rotimi currently plays for Mekelle 70 Enderta in Ethiopia.
The Benin-born goalkeeper was called up by Nigeria coach Samson Siasia to fill in for the injured Vincent Enyeama in the March 2011 Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia.
Now you know the best Super Eagles goalkeepers. These goalkeepers did all their best to stop opponents from scoring against Nigeria in National matches.