One of the trio of Nigeria national team goalkeepers who currently play their club football in Israel, Austin Ejide was tipped for big things after moving to France to play for Ligue 2 side Bastia, which has a reputation for launching many a legendary career for African players – including Michael Essien, Alexandre Song and Roger Milla. His chance in Europe came after time with small Nigerian club Gabros International and a successful four years with Tunisia club Etoile du Sahel where he reached the final of the African Champions League twice, in 2004 and 2005.
Always powerful and quick to get his sizeable frame down on the ground, Ejide was often too aggressive coming off his line and he worked through a reputation for making mistakes. After appearing in his only FIFA World Cup™ qualifier in a 1-1 draw with Rwanda, he was goalkeeper at the 2008 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, which was the only major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup that Vincent Enyeama wasn’t the number one choice in goal for Nigeria.
The coach at the time, Berti Vogts, preferred Ejide to Enyeama due to his height and strength, and the netminder was particularly impressive in the group stage in Ghana as the Super Eagles only gave up a goal to Côte d'Ivoire in their three matches. However, they were eliminated by host Black Stars in the quarter-finals, Vogts left soon after, Ejide struggled with injuries and Enyeama was number one choice again. A nervy performance in a friendly with Colombia later that year did not help his cause, though he was solid in a friendly with the Republic of Ireland in 2009. His athleticism is such that he is known to do full flips in celebration on the pitch.