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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aladdin Sodiq Blog Profiles: Vincent Enyeama

Vincent Enyeama (born 29 August 1982) is a Nigerian football goalkeeper. Since 2002, he has played for the national team of Nigeria. He currently plays for Israeli Premier League club Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Club career

At 16, he started with semi-professional club Ibom Stars, played four seasons with local giants Enyimba Aba, before moving to Israel. During his spell with Enyimba he won the CAF Champions League twice, with one noteworthy mention: He was always substituted before penalty shootouts.

"I don't know why I was substituted before penalties, but it worked," he said in an interview back in 2006. "In Israel I stopped many penalties and now everyone knows that I can handle penalties." After three seasons with Enyimba and one with FC Heartland, Enyeama moved to a minor club in Israel, Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv. He had a fantastic first season, showing amazing physical and athletic skills. In his first season with Bnei Yehuda, the team qualified for the final of the Israel State Cup and achieved fourth place in the Israeli Premier League, which qualified the team for the 2006 UEFA Cup. Enyeama has played for Hapoel Tel Aviv since 2007. Hapoel Tel Aviv endured a poor season in 2007/2008, but Enyeama just kept on improving. He proved to be a real leader helping the team to avoid relegation and reach the state cup final. This included an emotional letter he wrote to his fellow players, encouraging them to fight together for the club. Slowly he started to feel that he belonged to the club, Enyeama has been performing extremely well in recent seasons, showing steady improvement from year to year and now he is playing the best football of his career. The Nigerian custodian has utterly proven this year that he's far above the level of the Israeli top flight. He was selected for the player of the year by all of the media in Israel in 2009. In 2009 Enyeama following reported interest from RCD Espanyol, Galatasaray and Arsenal

Currently Enyeama is under contract with Hapoel Tel Aviv FC for another year, however Hapoel put Enyeama on the transfer list with a price tag of 3 million euro.

International career

Enyeama was selected for the 2002 World Cup as a cover for Ike Shorunmu.He only played one match in that tournament, keeping a clean sheet against England, but has since taken over the spot after Shorunmu's international retirement. Since then he has been the first-choice goalkeeper for the national team, playing in the 2004 African Cup of Nations and 2006 African Cup of Nations. In the 2010 African Cup of Nations, Enyeama also had a good tournament with Nigeria in the 2006 CAN; he stopped three penalties in the quarter-final against Tunisia, but couldn't prevent a loss to Ivory Coast in the semi-final. Goalkeeper Enyeama turned out the hero for the Nigerians as he saved Thomas Nyirenda’s spot kick after both teams had scored their previous three kicks. He put his own kick past his opposite number Mweene in a battle of the goaltenders, after Mweene had scored his seconds earlier, to set up a semi-final clash with Ghana, which Nigeria lost 1-0 only to end up settling for the third place by beating Algeria by a slim 1-0 victory margin

Vincent Enyeama justified claims as one of the best shot-stoppers in Africa with a defiant display to restrict Argentina to a 1-0 win in their Group B 2010 FIFA World Cup match.Enyeama, who was played his 56th international for the Super Eagles, made six fine saves, four of them from Lionel Messi, and was the major reason for Nigeria coming so close to almost pinching a draw against the two-time world champions. Despite the loss, he was named Man of the Match.


* Nigerian Premier League: 3
o 2001, 2002, 2003

* CAF Champions League: 2
o 2003, 2004

* Africa Cup of Nations:
o Third Place (3): 2004, 2006, 2010

* Israel State Cup (1):
o 2010

* Israeli Premier League (1):
o 2009-10

Source: Wikipedia

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