Vincent Enyeama is a very popular footballer. Almost everyone knows he’s an African and a Nigerian to be precise. I guess you also know he’s an international goalkeeper, and that he played for both the Nigeria national team and French Lille OSC. But there are so many other interesting things about him that have never crossed your mind. Let’s have a look at some interesting things about Vincent Enyeama.
A. Personal Life
1. He was born on 8th August 1982, in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria.
2. He is from Akwa Ibom state, in the Southern part of Nigeria. This has brought so much hatred and tribal criticism to his side but he is not worried about that as he said it even makes him stronger.
3. In 2004, Enyeama was involved in a car accident in Uyo, the capital of his state, Akwa Ibom, in which two motorcycle passengers were killed. The driver of the car, of which Enyeama was in, was left in critical condition. Although the accident was fatal and the car somersaulted twice as it swerved to try to avoid the motorbike, Enyeama came out with only bruises.
4. Vincent made his debut for the Nigeria national football team against Kenya in May 2002. Since then he has been playing for Nigeria and that’s over fifteen years now. During these years, he has played in three FIFA World Cup tournaments (2002, 2010, and 2014), and several Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, including the 2013 edition in which he was captain and helped secure Nigeria’s championship win.
5. During his spell with Enyimba International F.C., 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 in 2006. “In Israel, I stopped many penalties and now everyone knows that I can handle penalties.”
6. He won a Player of the Year as goalkeeper despite not playing for the championship-winning team. During the 2008-2009 season, while playing for Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier League, Enyeama was named the Player of the Year. This was quite unusual because goalkeepers rarely received the award, and Hapoel did not win the championship that season.
7. Enyeama made his second FIFA World Cup participation in the 2010 tournament in South Africa. In Nigeria’s opening match, he was named the man of the match, producing a defiant display to restrict Argentina to a 1–0 win. Enyeama, who was playing his 56th international for the Super Eagles, made six fine saves against the two-time world champions, four of them from Lionel Messi. Argentine coach Diego Maradona praised him as the reason Messi was not able to score a goal.
8. He kept clean sheets in the first 11 consecutive matches he played for Lille OSC, Enyeama didn’t let in any goals. And in total, he has kept goals in 21 matches without letting any goal.
9. Enyeama’s saves made to goals conceded ratio stands at seven, well ahead those of established goalkeepers like Victor Valdés (FC Barcelona), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) and Morgan de Sanctis (AS Roma).
10. At the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Enyeama deputised for regular captain Joseph Yobo, who stayed on the bench for most of the competition. On 10 February, Enyeama led Nigeria to its third continental victory, keeping a clean sheet in a 1–0 defeat of Burkina Faso in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Final. He was named to the team of the tournament as the first-choice goalkeeper, conceding only four goals in six matches.
11. He compromised his words to strip naked if Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in 2013. Before the 2013 AFCON tournament, Enyeama said he would dance naked if that happened. Afterwards, however, he compromised, saying, “I never said I would strip but I remember I did say I would take (off) my jersey but would celebrate with my underpants on but I was advised by well-meaning people against doing so and I changed my mind.”
12. Statistics show that Vincent Enyeama was the best goalkeeper in the major leagues across Europe in the 2013/14 football season. In June 2014, Enyeama was named in Nigeria’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.