Thursday, September 12, 2013

Emenike, Enyeama and the Drive Towards Nigerian Records

When Emmanuel Emenike scored Nigeria’s fourth goal against Burkina Faso last week Tuesday in an international friendly he signaled his approach towards matching a Nigerian record  currently held by Yakubu Mambo. If Emenike scores in his next game for Nigeria he would have scored in five consecutive games matching Mambo’s feat.  Surprisingly, none of Nigeria’s celebrated goal scorers ever scored in five consecutive games. The most celebrated of them all – Rashidi Yekini – had three streaks of scoring in three consecutive games.

Consecutive Games Scoring
                                               Games           Total Goals           Period
Yakubu MAMBO                      5                    5                   Dec 4, 1972- Jan 10, 1973
Emmanuel EMENIKE               4                    4                   Feb 3, 2013 - Present
Segun ODEGBAMI                   4                   7                   Jan 14, 1978 - March 8, 1978 
Obafemi MARTINS                  4                   6                   Jun 5, 2005 - Oct 8, 2005
Sunday OYAREKHUA               4                   5                   Dec 12, 1972 - Jan 10, 1973
Paul HAMILTON                      4                    4                   Feb 27, 1966 - Jan 28, 1967
Thompson USIYAN                   4                    4                  Feb 8, 1976 - March 4, 1976

But Emenike’s march to equal Mambo’s record is not the only record that has been threatened in recent times. The biggest record of all is most appearances for the national team. Joseph Yobo holds the record at 93 and because he is still active, most believe that he stands the chance to be Nigeria’s first 100-game player. However, it must be noted that his 93 game record is disputed by several record keepers. There are some who claim that he has played 95 games and others claim he played in 94. But looking painstaking at the records will show that Yobo has only played in 93 games. One of the errors come from assigning him an appearance in a Nations Cup qualify against Lesotho in Warri on September 8, 2007. However, Yobo was nowhere on the field for that game.

While Yobo currently holds the record at 93, he may not be the first Nigerian player to reach a 100 game mark. Currently, he is out of favor in the national team and has not played since Nigeria won the Cup for African Nations early in 2013. The more likely candidate for 100 games is Nigeria’s current skipper Vincent Enyeama who already has 85 games and counting rapidly as he remains first choice goalkeeper with World Cup qualifiers and several international friendlies approaching.  He is already tied the legendary Nwankwo Kanu in number of appearances. Two World Cup qualifiers later this year and perhaps four international friendlies plus a possible three or more at the World cup if Nigeria makes it would put Enyeama ahead of Yobo with approaching Cup of African Nations qualifiers yet to be counted.

Most Appearances
                                                  Games              Debut
Joseph YOBO                          93                   v Zambia/Mar 24, 2001
Muda LAWAL                          90                   v Cameroon/Jan 22, 1975
Vincent ENYEAMA                   85                   v Kenya/May 4, 2002
Nwankwo KANU                      85                   v Sweden/May 5, 1994
Augustine OKOCHA                 74                   v Ivory Coast/May 2, 1993

Victor Moses, with just 15 international appearances for Nigeria, is already approaching a Nigerian record on number of penalties converted. With three penalties already, he is barely two away from the record held by Yakubu Aiyegbeni. 

Most Penalty Kicks Converted

                                                     PK Goals         Total Games       Rate/Game
AIYEGBENI, Yakubu                      5                         58                    0.09
ACHEBE, Godwin                         4                          51                   0.08
KANU, Nwankwo                          4                          85                   0.05
OJEBODE, Samuel                        4                          27                   0.15
MOSES, Victor                              3                         15                   0.20

One record that was recently threatened was the number of goals scored by a player in a single game for Nigeria. Against Tahiti at the Confederations Cup, Nnamdi Oduamadi attempted to extinguish a Nigerian record of four goals in a single game that is held by three players. Unfortunately, he completed only a hat trick and the record stood.

Most Goals in a Single Game
                                                      Goals                Game                          Date
AGHOGHOVIA, Joseph               4                  v Thailand                      Oct 3, 1968
ONYEALI, Elkanah                     4                  v Dahomey (Benin Rep.)      Nov 28, 1959
YEKINI, Rashidi                          4                  v Burkina Faso               Jul 27, 1991
ODUAMADI, Nnamdi                   3                  v Tahiti                          Jun 17, 2013 

Meanwhile, we have already seen Stephen Keshi set a Nigerian record of 19 games unbeaten streak. That stands ahead of any stretch of unbeaten games during any other period in Nigeria’s footballing history. The second longest is a far 13 games achieved under Clens Westerhoff. After the defeat at the hands of Uruguay at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, Keshi started with another streak with a win in South Africa during the Mandela Cup challenge. He will have a long way to go to match his own streak of unbeaten games.

Most Consecutive Unbeaten Streaks
                                                           Games                Started                         Ended
KESHI, Stephen                              19                    Jun 3, 2012                  Jun 20, 2013 
WESTERHOFF, Clemens                  13                    Sep 30, 1990                Jan 23, 1992
LIBREGTS, T./BONFRERE, J.          12                    Nov 21, 1999               Jul 9, 2000
WESTERHOFF, Clemens                  12                    Jul 3, 1993                   Apr 17, 1994
O'DWYER, C./GLORIA, O.               12                    Oct 14, 1979                June 29, 1980      

**To learn more about Nigerian soccer statistics checkout CHUKASTATS at books.