The continent has been blessed with some of the finest shot-stoppers over the last century
Chelsea FC’s number one gloves Edouard Mendy has included Nigerian hero Victor Enyeama on his list of the four greatest African goalkeepers of all time.
For Mendy, compatriot and Senegal great Tony Sylva, Cameroon duo of Thomas N’kono and Carlos Kameni, and Super Eagles icon Vincent Enyeama are the four finest shot-stoppers to have ever come out of the continent.
Mendy, who won the 2021 AFCON with the Teranga Lions in February, acknowledged that Africa had produced many gifted goalkeepers over time. But the Chelsea star is convinced that none surpasses the talents and achievements of Enyeama and the three others.
“The greatest African goalkeeper of all time? I think that in Africa, we are lucky to have had a lot of goalkeepers marking their period,” Mendy said in an interview with Carré, as per Cameroon Magazine.
“Goalkeepers love Thomas N’Kono, of course. But recently, we had Tony Sylva who is a true legend of Senegalese football.
“We had Carlos Kameni. We also had Vincent Enyeama.
“In several countries, we were lucky to have a lot of good goalkeepers. It is, therefore, very difficult to name just one.”
How good was Vincent Enyeama?
Vincent Enyeama came to prominence at Enyimba International, powering the Aba-based side to three consecutive league titles between 2001 and 2003.
Enyeama sealed his spot as an Enyimba great when he guided the club to back-to-back CAF Champions League honours in 2003 and 2004. He was only 21 at the time.
After leaving the local scene for Europe in 2005, Enyeama spent seven years in Israel, where he was regarded as the best goalkeeper of that era.
The former Bnei Yehuda ace won two league honours and was named the 2009 Footballer of the Year in Israel ahead of several star strikers and midfielders.
Enyeama joined Lille in 2011 and was on the payroll of the French club for seven years, during which he won the Prix Marc-Vivien Foé for the best African player in Ligue 1 in 2014.
With Nigeria, Enyeama also enjoyed significant success. The Kaduna-born goalie made his Super Eagles debut in 2002. He became the team’s first-choice number one gloves after the retirement of Ike Shorunmu.
Enyeama helped the Nigerian national team to third-place finishes in the 2004, 2006, and 2010 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
The ex-Lille man then captained the Super Eagles to victory against Burkina Faso in the 2013 AFCON final in South Africa.
Considered by some ahead of Peter Rufai as the best Nigerian goalkeeper in history, Enyeama was included in the IFFHS CAF Men’s Team of the Decade between 2011 and 2020.