African All Stars

Enyeama-Mensah debate highlights Ghana-Nigeria bad blood

20:20 SAST 2022/03/15
Enyeama Nigeria
The opening round of the combined Black Stars-Super Eagles XI has prompted inflammatory debate

by Joel Omotto

The 2022 World Cup playoff between Nigeria and Ghana has heightened the bad blood that exists among supporters of two countries.

This was evident from the heated debate generated online after GOAL asked fans to rate who between Nigeria’s goalkeeping icon Vincent Enyeama and his Ghanaian counterpart Robert Mensah deserves inclusion in our combined Black Stars-Super Eagles XI.

“Insult. I’m guessing Mensah was only known in Ghana unlike Enyeama. I just don’t like it when you start comparing players,” Nigerian fan Dapps Oladapo wrote on Facebook. “Even Ghanaians know Vincent Enyeama was far better but I understand they would wanna choose their own.

“No shame in that.”

Ghana supporter Michael Anning Manchester Rvp retorted: “How can you compare Ghana legend [Mensah] to this small goalkeeper [Enyeama],” while Reuben Dambo used the opportunity to make his feelings known about the high-stakes World Cup playoff.

“I don’t have time to argue with Ghanaians, but let me tell you guys, Nigeria will be at the World Cup.”

GOAL was also not spared for comparing the ‘incomparable’ duo.

“How can you compare Africa’s greatest goalie Robert Mensah to a mere Enyeama,” wrote Bra Qwamhe.

The Ghanaian fan was not let off the hook for those comments, with Thompson Tamunodiki replying: “Bra Qwamhe I might not know Mensah too well, but he truly did not win the Nations Cup and did not appear at the World Cup.

“That means he is really a local goalie, so for that I think Enyeama is greater than him and don’t call him African great because he did not do us any proud.”

“Enyeama can save your relationship, while Ghana’s legend couldn’t even save a contact in his phone,” joked Kabiru Adamu Kachallah.

The debate further degenerated as Stars and Eagles fans drew further comparisons between the two iconic goalkeepers.

“In this argument, Enyeama is like Pele while Robert Mensah is like Maguire,” Lynx Iscariot wrote. In reality, Mensah was one of Africa’s finest goalkeepers of his generation, leading the Black Stars to second place at the 1968 Africa Cup of Nations as well as the Summer Olympics in Mexico the same year during a nine-year span with the national side that yielded 32 caps.

The Asante Kotoko legend earned the nickname ‘Yashin’ as he often wore a cap akin to former

Russia goalkeeper Lev Yashin, and liked taunting opposing strikers by reading a newspaper while in goal.

His career came to a tragic end in 1971 when he was stabbed by a broken bottle in a nightclub following an altercation with a fan.

Enyeama, meanwhile, was, until recently, Nigeria’s most capped player with 101 appearances after a 13-year stint with the Super Eagles that saw him hold fort between the sticks at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups as well as four Africa Cup of Nations (2004, 2006, 2010 and 2013), winning the last of these four as captain.

A fine shot-stopper with great agility, Enyeama was never afraid of the big occasions, putting in Man of the Match performances against Argentina and Greece at the 2010 World Cup and earned praise for making six saves against the former, four of them from Lionel Messi.