Why Enyeama is the greatest Nigerian to play in Caf Champions League – Olatunji-Okuku

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Former Super Eagles star Vincent Enyeama is the greatest Nigerian ever to play in the Caf Champions League, according to Samuel Olatunji-Okuku.

After joining the Aba giants from Ibom Stars in 2001, the goalkeeper became a key figure in Kadiri Ikhana’s Enyimba team that ruled Africa in 2003 - a feat which ended Nigeria’s wait to win the African title.

His best performance came in the second leg of the final against Ismaily, as he made crucial saves to deny Theo Bucker's El Daraweesh.

The following year, he was in goal as the Nigeria Professional Football League side ruled the continent for the second consecutive time – this time, they negotiated their way past Etoile du Sahel in the final.

As the build-up for Saturday’s final between Al Ahly and Kaizer Chiefs continues, Goal asked the seasoned football administrator who was the greatest Nigerian to play in the competition in his opinion.

And after considering many factors, he picked the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner ahead of the likes of former Africa Player of the Year Emmanuel Amuneke and several of his Enyimba teammates, who won the annual football showpiece twice.

“Honestly, this is a very tough call to make because most of the players who featured in the first edition played a major role in the title defence,” Olatunji-Okuku told Goal.

“However, I will be sticking out my neck out for Vincent Enyeama. The reason is simple, of all the players who have emerged as champions; he stood the test of time - talking about his career in Europe and the senior national team.

“I think winning the Africa Cup of Nations as well as winning earning over 100 caps for the Super Eagles is a big deal for a player who shot into limelight in Africa’s biggest club competition.

“In Europe, he excelled greatly during his time at Bnei Yehuda and Hapoel Tel Aviv before he moved to Ligue 1 side Lille.

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“No disrespect to the likes of Emmanuel Amuneke, Willy Opara, Obinna Nwaneri and Dele Aiyenugba who also did so well in the competition, I decided to go for Enyeama based on what he achieved after his feat with Enyimba."

Since Enyimba’s success in 2004, no Nigerian side has won the competition. Only Heartland went close to winning the diadem in 2009, but they lost to Tout Puissant Mazembe in the final.

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