Former Super Eagles Captain Vincent Enyeama, and ten other players, have been frozen out of Lille by new Coach Marcelo Bielsa. They are not part of his plan for the new Ligue 1 campaign in France.
All the affected players were asked by the former Argentina, Chile and Marseille gaffer recently appointed at Lille to stay away from the club’s pre-season which began on Monday through an SMS.
Other African players not wanted anymore at the French club include; Zambian defender Stoppila Sunzu, Tunisia’s Naim Sliti and Cote d’Ivoire’s Junior Tallo. Burkina Faso’s international goalkeeper Herve Koffi appointed this summer was not affected by the purge.
Also affected by the purge include; Portugal’s Euro 2016 hero Eder, France international Rio Mavuba, Julian Palmieri, Montenegro international Marko Basa, Éric Bauthéac, Lenny Nangis and Marvin Martin.
After being appointed by the club’s new owner, Gerard Lopez, on a two-year deal in May, Bielsa immediately set about reshaping the squad that finished 11th in Ligue 1 last season.
Bielsa has added new players to the fold and moved to re-gig the team by asking the 11 listed players to look elsewhere for greener pastures.
Just last Monday, Enyeama tweeted a selfie with some of his fellow outcasts, who also include Basa, Martin and Sunzu, stating: “Always a pleasure to be back with the team.”
Enyeama joined Lille in June 2011 and has made 164 appearances for the team. Followers of the French league were hard press to fathom why the new coach took such draconian move on the former Nigerian captain and others.
In particular, they wondered why the inclusion of Eder who scored the winning goal in last summer’s European Championship final against France and Mavuba who has made almost 300 Ligue 1 appearances for Lille since moving there in 2008.
In his reaction to the development, Ivorian international Tallo told influential French newspaper L’Equipe he was unfazed by the sack notice.
“As for me, I’m under contract. I will respect the two years I have left. I’m in no hurry.
“I want to establish myself at Lille.
“It’s the club that wants me to leave. We’ll see if they find a solution between now and the end of the transfer window. I’m calm. It’s a bit bizarre, but I’m handling it OK.
“I was informed like the others, by text. We’re under contract, the club does what it wants. We would have liked to have had a discussion. But it’s a business choice made by the bosses.