Hapoel keeper shines against Argentina

By Simon Griver, June 14, 2010
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Hapoel Tel Aviv watched Vincent Enyeama’s stunning goalkeeping performance in Nigeria's 1-0 defeat to Argentina with mixed feelings.

The Israeli champions had hoped to retain Enyeama’s services for their Champions League qualification campaign but a string of finger-tip saves from Lionel Messi won him the man of the match nomination and makes it likely that the 27 year-old Nigerian will be playing in the Premier League or La Liga in August.

Enyeama, a devout Christian who has been playing in Israel for five years, perhaps recalling Maradonna's hand of God told Israeli journalists: “I stopped Messi with the help of God.”

Scouts of several English teams were in Johannesburg on Saturday to watch Enyeama including a representative of Arsenal who have showed previous interest in the Hapoel stopper.

Enyeama’s Israeli agent Ronen Katsav admitted there is growing interest in the Nigerian. He said, "There is no doubt that Enyeama's performance has raised his stock significantly but it would be an exaggeration to say that he is assured a contract in England or Spain."

Hapoel which had previously been asking £1 million for Enyeama but could find no takers, are now expected to hike the asking price.

Newly appointed West Ham boss Avram Grant has long been an admirer of Enyeama and following Robert Green’s clanger against the US, he may be tempted to bring in the Nigerian to replace Green.

Hapoel’s goalkeeping coach Gabi Borstein said: “It was very exciting to see Enyeama play against Argentina. Finally the whole world knows what he is worth.”

Last updated: 10:41am, June 14 2010