Striker’s decision to quit international football sparks a wave of reactions
A cocktail of reactions has greeted Emmanuel Emenike’s decision to quit the Nigeria national soccer team.
The Al Ain striker had on Monday via the social media Instagram announced his retirement from international football, calling time on a fiveyear career with the Super Eagles.
Emenike’s quit decision comes barely three weeks after goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama called time on his Super Eagles career following a bitter confrontation with the Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh.
Reacting to the development, former international Etim Esin described it as a worrying development, while expressing his fears that more senior players may also follow suit.
“It is not a good development because as a coach, you still need your experienced players in the team,” said Esin. “When I was a young kid, I remember I played with the likes of Peter Rufai, Stephen Keshi, who was the leader of our squad at that time.
“We know Sunday Oliseh is trying to build a new squad, but he still needs the experienced players in the team because at the end of the day, it is all about results, maybe the next person to call it quit could be (John Obi) Mikel. So, I think it is not a welcome development.”
And while Fatai Amoo, an assistant coach to the Nigeria Under-23 squad, believes Emenike’s retirement from international football is ill-timed, the development did not come as a surprise to John Mastoroudes, a former technical committee member of the old Nigeria Football Association.
“I heard of Emenike’s retirement but I feel the decision is a bit hasty,” said Amoo. “He may not have had a good run in the Eagles lately but sometimes it’s like that in football.” “Well I feel he’s an experienced player who we still need in the team. I don’t know if he made up his mind because of the goals he has not scored for a while or not. But right now, the Eagles still need the experienced guys.”
“Everything has got its advantage and disadvantage. Emenike’s retirement is worrying but it is an opportunity to the younger strikers,” Amoo added.
However, according to Mastoroudes, “The news of Emmanuel Emenike’s retirement from the Super Eagles did not come to me as a surprise.
“He has struggled to impress with the national team in recent outings, which has made people criticise him.
“I just believe he felt he can’t cope with the demands of international football and team’s requirement, hence the need for him to call it quits.”
Stating reasons for his decision, Emenike, 28, said: “It was not an easy decision. I didn’t think my international career would come to a sudden end, but that is life.
“Sometimes it’s better to remove yourself from an environment that doesn’t suit you mentally and physically, this is what I have done.”
Emenike made his Nigeria debut in February 2011 before playing an integral role in the team’s successful 2013 African Cup of Nations campaign, finishing joint-top scorer with four goals as the Super Eagles secured the title. He last found the net for Nigeria in October of that year in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia.
– Oladipo Okubanjo