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Mendy: The New Blend of African Passion and Character

Edouard Mendy of Senegal

Edouard Osoque Mendy, popularly known as Edouard Mendy, some hours ago added another one to his already impressive trophy collection. Mendy is a 29 years old Senegal national that plays as a goalkeeper for the Senegal national football team and Chelsea FC.

Something peculiar about Edouard Mendy that must have been noticed by many of his fans or regular onlookers, is his shirt number #16. Most people know that Mendy owns the number 16 at both Chelsea and the Senegal national team but not beyond that. But since the start of his career, Mendy has had the opportunities of picking a shirt number eleven times and opted for #16 eight out of those times. Twice, he wore #1 temporarily and wore #30 at the beginning of his professional career at Cherbourg.

Is there something that makes the number 16 special for Mendy? Or he just sees it as his lucky charm as it was the number he wore in his breakthrough season?

Edou has a French nationality that could have seen him try to fight for a place in the France national team like many others but rather plays for his Africa descent, Senegal. Had Mendy chosen to fight his way through the national team of France, well, his international career story would have been a totally diferent one. Probably, if he succeeded, he would be a 3rd choice goalkeeper for friendly matches. This man at almost 30 is a beauty to watch when between the sticks or anywhere around them. And as opposed to the generalised and somewhat proven idea about African goalkeepers, he has an outstanding reflex and jump. He has also won the best goalkeeper award for two successive tournaments.

Talent? Hardwork? A combination of both? No one really cares as long as he delivers!

As a tired and frustrated young black man in Europe, Mendy should have given up in 2014 and gone rogue after he was released by then 3rd tier French football club Cherbourg. Instead, he registered for unemployment, remained jobless in France for sometime while he tried to make his way back into football through the Marseille B side team reserves. Normally, this would have been termed a ‘come back’ for Edou but it wasn’t as his career never really started before then. Since then, patience, resilience and growth has been the story of the now widely regarded world best goalkeeper. I can only imagine how Edou’s mum will feel from time to time when she sees him, if she was a typicl Nigerian mum. Those tears would gently flow down her cheeks while gave her champion the subtle look.

Since his debut for Senegal in 2018, Mendy hasn’t looked back. From AFCON finalist in 2019 to AFCON winner in 2021/22. He won the Senegal player of the year in 2021 and earned a ‘King-like’ homecoming after his exploits across Europe. If Mendy decides to quit football today, his praises will continually be sung by Senegalese for years to come. Mendy has remained humble despite his piling achievements. His career turnarund can be likened to the exploits of a successful usurper but a ‘gentle one’, if there are any like that.

Edouard Mendy’s story is really that of a ‘Zero to Hero’ that i hope is nowhere near its end.

How far can this man go?

Could this year be the year something hooge comes to Africa? 3 major team trophies in less than 9 months… and more to be expected.

Probably, there should be a movie with a title like ‘Mendy; The Career Becoming’


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