Enyeama apologises for Nigeria 'misunderstanding'

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama
Vincent Enyeama was Nigeria's goalkeeper at last year's World Cup in South Africa

Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has apologised to his nation after last week's spat with coach Samson Siasia.

Along with John Mikel Obi and Victor Anichebe, Enyeama had rowed about the team's mode of travel to Madagascar.

A furious Siasia then dropped Enyeama for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, stressing that his act of indiscipline was totally unacceptable.

But on Friday, Enyeama said sorry while insisting that his travel plan concerns were 'completely misunderstood'.

Mikel, Anichebe and Enyeama, who plays for French side Lille, had all demanded that the Super Eagles fly on a bigger aircraft directly to Antananarivo, rather than the chartered flight that would stop over in Congo Brazzaville.

"My concerns were over safety, comfort and a better treatment in team's preparation," the former Hapoel Tel Aviv man told BBC Sport.

"What I said and how I went about it probably didn't go down well with some people - but that was me.

"I raised a very sensitive issue, a selfless one in the best interest of the team, but was told of its bad timing.

"I felt it was something that was dealt with in-house (but) unfortunately it has been blown out of proportion in the media.

"I apologise to the coach, officials and to my colleagues, in particular, and to the nation in general for all that has happened."

Nigeria won 2-0 in Madagascar to stay in contention in Group B of Nations Cup qualifying, trailing leaders Guinea by three points.

Enyeama was absent again just two days later as the Super Eagles lost a high-profile friendly to Argentina in Bangladesh.

While understanding his demotion, Nigeria's goalkeeper at last year's World Cup finals is upset about he has been portrayed back home following the incident.

"I am very sad about this situation - that I am being considered undisciplined by the Nigerian people.

"It was never intended to disrespect the coach or create mutiny within the team as portrayed. So I say sorry for that."

The highly-publicised bust-up has divided opinions in the West African country.

A section of the media has been critical of the Nigerian internationals' attitude as Siasia strives to stamp his authority and discipline on the team.

However, others are cynical of the coach's high-handed approach after recent fall-outs with Obafemi Martins, Osaze Odemwingie and Dickson Etuhu.

Enyeama has been Nigeria's number one since the 2002 World Cup save for a small period in 2008 when then coach Berti Vogts preferred Austin Ejide.

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