Former Super Eagles captain Vincent Enyeama has criticised former governor of Abia state Orji Uzor Kalu for wanting to buy a 35 per cent stake in English Premier League club Arsenal.
Kalu, who is a current senator representing Abia North in the Nigerian National Assembly had expressed interest in acquiring part ownership of the Gunners to ensure they finally win the elusive UEFA Champions League as well as back-to-back Premier League titles.
The former Abia governor hinged his desire to be a part of the ownership structure at Arsenal on his “success with Enyimba football club between 2000-2007” when as governor he led the state-owned club to five Nigeria Professional Football League titles in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Enyimba also became the first and still only Nigerian side to win the CAF Champions League in that spell, achieving the feat in consecutive years in 2003 and 2004. In addition, The Peoples Elephants also won the CAF Super Cup in 2004 and 2005.
“Our success with Enyimba football club between 2000-2007 has continuously increased my passion for football. As the pillar of sports in Africa, I am considering an investment in football and I will buy 35 percent stake in Arsenal FC.
“Our target is to lift the Champions League and Premier League back to back as we did with Enyimba,” Kalu wrote in a Facebook post on 16 November.
But Enyeama who was an integral part of that all conquering Enyimba side and who spent three years with the Aba side from 2001 to 2004, faulted Kalu for wanting to acquire a foreign club at the expense of domestic clubs.
The former Lille goalkeeper, who is Nigeria’s record appearance holder with 101 caps, reckons Kalu and Nigerian football would be better served if the money was invested in Enyimba to “turn it into a mega club” rather than buying up Arsenal shares.
Arsenal, which is owned by American billionaire Stan Kroenke is currently valued by Forbes at $2.267billion.
A thirty five percent stake would amount to $795,450,000 and Enyeama believes such a staggering sum could help transform the domestic football landscape.
“Why not invest that money in Enyimba and turn it into a mega club. A club that will bring in a lot of sponsors and create job opportunities for the youth,” Enyeama countered on Twitter.
“Nigeria has no MEGA club side that we can boast of. What do I know. My mouth keeps putting me into trouble,” Enyeama who is current goalkeeping coach at French National 3 side Iris Club de Croix concluded.
Kalu, though, is not the only Nigerian billionaire enamored by the prospect of buying the Gunners.
Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has never hidden his desire to one day own the club, frequently talking about his dream to buy the club most recently revealing on the David Rubenstein Show his plan to purchase the London club by 2021.
“It is a team that, yes, I would like to buy someday, but what I keep saying is we have $20billion worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on,” Dangote said on the David Rubenstein Show.
“I’m trying to finish building the company and then after we finish, maybe sometime in 2021 we can.”