Vincent Enyeama brilliantly ended the season. The goalkeeper of Lille did not finish celebrating the third place of Lille in the final classification of the French League 1 before being appointed on this 12th May, prize-winner of Marc-Vivien Foé RFI / France 24 Prize. The Nigerian is the first goalkeeper and the English-speaking player to have won the prize which rewards the best African football player of the championship of France.
For 1062 minutes (almost 12 matches), the goalkeeper of Nigerian origin has not taken any goal during the season which has just come to an end. This myth of invincibility kept by the former goalkeeper of Enyimba put him in front of his competitors, the Cameroonian defender of Lyon Henri Bedimo and the Ivorian Salomon Kalou in the competition for the title.
In spite of his nice performance, Vincent Enyeama refused be appointed as the best African goalkeeper. “There are so good goalkeepers whom you do not even know, whom you did not even see … They do not all have chance to be at the front of the scene. There is a Togolese goalkeeper of Reims (Kossi Agassa) who is doing a formidable work with his club (…)” He declared.
At first, the European adventure was not easy for the Nigerian. On his arrival at LOSC in 2011, he was the subtitute of Mickaël Landreau before being lent for a season to Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Israel. The player in an interview granted to RFI, asserted having suffered from racism.
“In Israel, I felt racism but I do not like talking about what happened to other people. I do not like talking about what I did not see. Personally, this happened to me several times: at the restaurant, on soccer pitch. Certain people were born racists and nothing to do to change them. Life continues, I prefer to go my way”, he indicated.
The Gabonese Aubameyang won the trophy of the last edition.
Professional career path:
2001-2004 : Enyimba (Nigeria)
2005 : Heartland (Nigeria)
2005-2007 : Bnei Yehuda (Israel)
2007-2011 : Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)
2011-… : Lille (France)
2012-2013 : Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
…-2014… : Lille (France)
Prize list :
Champion of Nigeria 2001, 2002, 2003 (Enyimba)
Champion of African clubs 2003 and 2004 (Enyimba)
Champion of Israel 2010 (Hapoel) and 2013 (Maccabi)
Cups of Israel 2010 et 2011 (Hapoel)
African Cup of Nations 2013 (Nigeria)
3rd of African Cup of Nations 2004, 2006 and 2010 (Nigeria)
Best player of the year 2009 in Israel
Marc-Vivien Foé Prize 2004
Took part in African Cups of Nations 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013 and World Cup 2002 and 2010
Original text by: Roger ADZAFO