English Football Teams Beginning And Ending With The Same Letter One of the Best Goal Keepers in World Cup 2010 – Vincent Enyeama

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One of the Best Goal Keepers in World Cup 2010 – Vincent Enyeama

Nicknamed “The Cat”, Vincent Enyeama is one of the favorite players in the Nigerian national team, both for his country’s fans and coaches. For many years he was the undisputed first choice of Nigeria’s coaches to score for the team. Born on 29 August 1982, he was the Super Eagles’ top scorer ever since he took over from Ike Shorunmu in his country’s final match at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Starting his soccer career at the tender age of 16 with semi-professional club Ibom Stars, he continued to improve his skills until he was signed by major club Enyimba Aba, where he played for three seasons from 2001-2004. During his tenure at that club, he won the CAF Champions League twice. However, his coach always replaced him before the penalty shootout. The exact reason for this is unknown, but accepting the fact that he may not have been good enough to stop the penalty kick, he worked twice as hard and trained mentally to prepare for such eventualities and not waver. He moved to FC Heartland for the 2005 season before transferring to Israel.

At Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv, a minor league club in Israel, he had a very productive first season showing his cat-like physicality and athletic skills. In his first season there, his contributions on the pitch helped his team qualify for the Israel State Cup and a fourth-place finish in the Israeli Premier League, which qualified the team for the 2006 UEFA Cup. He stayed at the club for two seasons and in 2007 moved to Hapoel Tel Aviv where he is currently linked.

Although the 2007–08 season was not a good one for his team, Vincent Enyeama developed and improved not only his goalkeeping skills but also his leadership skills. Once when his club was not doing well, he wrote a letter to his team asking them to work together and fight for each other and the club. He not only continued to improve as a player but also a leader who helped his team not only avoid relegation but also to the State Cup Final. His consistent improvements are the result of an excellent training regime that includes not only physical conditioning but also mental training to keep his focus intact every second of the match.

His consistent performances for his professional club earned him a place as a substitute for the 2002 World Cup where he played only one match against England. During that last group game, he kept his nerves and composure to keep a clean sheet and hold on to a draw against the powerhouse English side. Since then, he has become his coaches’ top choice for goalkeeper when Ike Shorunmu retired from international soccer.

He consistently scored goals for his country in the 2004 and 2006 African Cup of Nations. He had a memorable 2010 sequel to the tournament when he saved three penalties in the quarter-finals against Tunisia but unfortunately lost to Cote d’Ivoire in the semi-finals.

The goalkeeper, who was substituted before penalty shootouts early in his career, became the hero of many of Nigeria’s international games.

In the first group stage match against Argentina at the 2010 World Cup, he excelled by stopping and saving various shots from some of the world’s top goalscorers such as Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain but could not save the game-winning header from Gabriel Heinz. Still, despite that defeat, he was adjudged man of the match for his spectacular performance.

Even after facing defeat, a player who shows tremendous resilience and determination against a strong opponent is always given due recognition. Enyeama, who chose to constantly learn and be better than anyone else, is a goalkeeper who has carved his name as one of the best players in the world of soccer.

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