By James Agberebi: Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has thanked former Super Eagles coach Adegboye Onigbinde for giving him the opportunity to play for the senior national team.
Enyeama stated this while sending birthday wishes to the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations silver medal winning coach who turned 80 on Monday.
After taking over from the late Amodu Shuaibu as Super Eagles coach prior to the start of the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, Onigbinde included Enyeama in the 23-man squad for the tournament.
Onigbinde went on to hand Enyeama his first competitive game in the Eagles’ last group match which ended 0-0 against a star-studded England side that had David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ashley Cole, Davod Seaman, Michael Owen and Sol Campbell.
Following his impressive performance in his first competitive game, Enyeama went on to win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and starred at the South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cups.
Reminiscing on how he was discovered by Onigbinde, Enyeama wrote on Twitter: “I can’t forget that match against Enyimba FC vs Julius Berger FC 2001/2002 season at the Abeokuta Stadium. So grateful that God brought Chief Adegboye Onigbinde and his crew my way. Wishing you a happy birthday, a new age in good health, prosperity. God bless you Sir.”
The Nigeria Football Federation also tweeted a birthday message to Onigbinde along with a picture of the coaching veteran celebrating.