Sunday Oliseh: My Decision To Strip Enyeama Of Eagles Captaincy Has Been Validated

Sunday Oliseh believes his decision to appoint Ahmed Musa as Super Eagles captain in place of Vincent Enyeama during his stint as manager in 2015, though controversial and criticised at the time, has been vindicated.

Oliseh’s decision to strip Enyeama of the armband and name Musa in his place set off a chain of events that saw both men depart the national team leaving Nigeria in a lurch and ultimately unable to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

The relationship between both men didn’t get off on the best footing after Enyeama missed Oliseh’s first two matches as national team coach following his appointment in July 2015.

Musa deputised in Enyeama’s absence in what many thought was just a temporary measure but, Oliseh’s decision to make the arrangement permanent riled Enyeama who quit the national team in protest following a bust-up with Oliseh in Belgium where the team was preparing for a friendly against DR Congo in October 2015.

Recounting the events that led to his decision to strip the former Lille and Enyimba goalie of the armband, former Dortmund and Juventus midfielder Oliseh told The Punch during an Instagram Live session that Enyeama’s lack of professionalism and nonchalant attitude towards national service during his time as manager was not befitting of the captain of the Super Eagles.

Oliseh said he saw Musa who had 52 caps for Nigeria at the time, as a better fit for the armband than Enyeama who had already amassed 101 caps and was in the twilight of his career.

And he stated that his foresight in identifying Musa’s leadership potential has been validated by current manager Gernot Rohr’s decision to keep Musa as captain.

“I became the coach and invited him to come to play for Nigeria and he didn’t want to play,” Oliseh explained.

“Eventually, we got in another much better goalkeeper (Carl Ikeme) during his absence and we had already picked a new captain – which I picked at that time and some criticised but today he is the captain of the Super Eagles – Ahmed Musa.

“My belief is, if you are playing for Nigeria, it should be an honour when you are invited. If you choose when to play and when not to play, as a coach I believe in discipline.

“If you’re going to be stubborn but in a nice way, be stubborn with a cause without arguments.

“So I just picked somebody else as captain and as far as I was concerned that’s it. I just felt someone else was better.”

Oliseh, a former captain of the Eagles himself who was capped 52 times and won the AFCON in 1994 later resigned as coach of the national team in February 2016. He has been without a coaching job since leaving Dutch club Fortuna Sittard in controversial circumstances.

His replacement in the national team Samson Siasia handed the armband to John Mikel Obi with Musa named as vice-captain and on Mikel’s retirement after the 2019 AFCON, Musa was elevated to the captaincy by Rohr.