Super Eagles’ captain and Lille shot stopper, Vincent Enyeama has ably earned his mention among the equally deserving 10 nominees for the Marc Vivien Foe award celebrating the best African player in the French Ligue 1 over the season.
The commemorative award introduced in 2009 is named after the late Cameroonian midfielder, Marc Vivien Foe and is voted for by sport journalists selected by French media RFI and France 24. Foe collapsed and died on June 26, 2003 in Indomitable Lions’ semifinals clash against Colombia in the Fifa Confederations Cup at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, France.
Last year Enyeama may have surprised himself but not the rest of the world based on his spectacular form when he won the award by a mile ahead of Ivorian defender, Serge Aurier of Toulouse FC (now in PSG) and Cameroonian player Henri Bedimo of Olympique Lyonnais to win the 2014 edition of the award.
This time around though he faces a very stiff challenge. Players like the Ghanaian duo, Jordan and Andre Ayew are flexing muscles and the older Ayew is considered the top dog by many.
Alongside challenging Enyeama will be Max-Alain Gradel of the Ivory Coast, Aymen Abdennour of Tunisia, Nabil Dirar of Morocco, Idrissa Gueye of Senegal, Aissa Mandi of Algeria and Cameroon duo, Benjamin Moukandjo and Clinton N’Jie.
The question now on the lips of most bookmakers, pundits and football analysts is whether the Nigerian centurion will leap to a career high by going to win the coveted award back to back and become the first ever goalkeeper to achieve such a landmark.
Enyeama has helped Lille to preserve the fourth-best defensive record as well as a push for a European spot in the ongoing 2014/15 French top flight in the 32 matches he has dressed for the side so far in the season.
The statistics shows that Enyeama has played for 2880 minutes and conceded 27 goals with an amazing 70 saves
Enyeama has also amassed 58 blocks to his credit, two yellow cards, and one foul committed as with five suffered. He has never been shown the red card.
Enyeama in the past has expressed his apprehension when it comes to awards.
“Outfield players easily get all the plaudits but those preventing them from grabbing the headlines don’t get similar accolades,” Enyeama said ruefully as quoted by Supersport.
Nevertheless, Enyeama is still in a good position to repeat the podium feat especially if he can continue the stellar performance for Lille in the remaining six weeks on the calendar to round off the ongoing season.
However as earlier indicated, the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan who play for Marseille and Lorient respectively have been key to their teams in attack. Jordan has been quite potent in front of goal as he is mentioned the 13th top scorers in the 32-week old top league.
Tunisian Abdennour is a no nonsense disciplined defender with incredible displays for Monaco helping his club to keep opponents at bay.
Saint-Etienne marksman, Max-Alain Gradel is a striker who needs no introduction and has once again done well for his side in attack earning a deserving ninth mention on the top scorer’s chart.
Gradel’s Moroccan teammate Dirar is also in range of taking the award just as is the Algerian Mandi from Reims while Senegalese midfielder Gueye is another player being mentioned .
Rounding out the pool are the Cameroonian duo, Moukandjo and N’Jie who have both had good seasons for Reims and Lyon respectively.
Past winners are Marouane Chamakh (2009), Gervinho (2010, 2011), Younès Belhanda (2012), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2013) and Vincent Enyeama (2014).