Israel-based goalkeeper, Austin Ejide, will step out of the shadows of his national teammate, Vincent Enyeama, on Wednesday night in Miami to lead the team out as skipper in the international friendly match against Venezuela at the Marlins Stadium in Miami.
Super Eagles head coach Stephen Keshi said after serious consideration, he has decided to give Ejide the captainship for the match.
Ejide first joined the national team from Gabros of Nnewi, in the run-up to the Korea-Japan 2002 World Cup, alongside Enyeama and Justice Christopher. The Eagles number one jersey has since been alternated between the duo, with Enyeama mostly appearing as goalkeeper, but Wednesday’s game will be another opportunity for Ejide to lay claim to the Eagles number one shirt.
In the meantime, Newcastle United of England player, Shola Ameobi, has said he was simply delighted to be part of the Nigerian set up for the first time and hopes it turns out well on Wednesday. Ameobi spoke after dinner on Monday night on arrival from England.
“Its good to be here and I will learn to speak Pidgin English as the players have directed”, he joked after his former teammate Obafemi Martins challenged him to start speaking in pidgin English, which Keshi has adopted as the official language each time the team is in camp.
Also, Bright Dike of MLS side Portland Timbers in the United States said at breakfast on Tuesday morning that it was a dream come true for him to be part of the Nigerian national soccer team.
Assistant Coach, Sylvanus Okpala took Bright to task in his ability to speak Igbo. “I understand it but do not speak fluently, it will get better now that I will start coming to Nigeria”, he said.
Self-styled "Weapon of Mass Destruction" Obafemi Martins has vowed to get a permanent shirt with his performance on the pitch on Wednesday and in subsequent camping of the team. “My return is for real and Nigerians will see”, he said. Indeed, Martins looked the sharpest among attackers in camp as he scored several goals during Monday night practice.
The game will be played at the Marlins Stadium in Miami 8pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) which will be around 2AM Nigerian time on Thursday morning.