Former Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama eyes ‘positive return’ to football

Former Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama is eager to return to football after almost two years out of the game.

The 36-year-old joined the Great Danes from Isreali club Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2011, making 164 appearances.

In the 2013-14 season, he was named the French Ligue 1 African Player of the Year, becoming the first goalkeeper to earn the prize after helping his side with 17 clean sheets from 35 league games.

At the start of the 2017-18 season, the former Super Eagles captain was found surplus to requirement after former manager Marcelo Bielsa told him along with 10 other players to look for a new club.

Subsequently, Enyeama was forced to train with the reserve team and endured a torrid tie on the sideline owning to a knee injury.

However, the goalie who last played a competitive game in April 2017 was released in August 2018 by the Stade Pierre-Mauroy outfit and he is looking to get back to action with a new club, preferring to continue in France.

“I have put the past behind me as I continue to train and hoping to make a positive return,” Enyeama told BBC Sport.

“I’ve received some offers in Israel and Turkey. But at this stage in life I want to make family a priority when I need to make a move, because they are very settled here in France.

“The way I play football is with a smile and I would love to do that knowing my family is happy and settled.”

“Goalkeepers have a long lifespan in football and I believe I still have so much to offer. I’d be the first to stop when I know I cannot give my best. I continue to train at home hoping for the best.”

Vincent Enyeama

Reflecting on the rather unceremonious exit from Lille, he said: “The way things ended at Lille was disappointing, it was sad to leave the club alongside others who gave everything; without the chance to say a proper goodbye to the fans.

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“You are recovering [from an injury] after giving so much to the club and suddenly everything ended like that, respectful football decisions are made – with a new manager and project on the table.

“I quite understand and respect that, yet it was not the kind of end you would want for a beautiful story but this is football.

“I always share positive energy every time I get a chance to see some of our fans, it is a good bond that will always live with me.”

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