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Thomas Nkono
TNkono.JPG
Personal information
Date of birth 20 July 1955 (1955-07-20) (age 54)
Place of birth Dizangue, Cameroon
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
Éclair Douala
1974 Canon Yaoundé
1975 Tonnerre Yaoundé
1976–1982 Canon Yaoundé
1982–1991 Español 241 (0)
1991–1993 Sabadell 70 (0)
1993–1994 L'Hospitalet
1994–1997 Club Bolívar 92 (0)
National team
1976–1994 Cameroon 112 (0)
Teams managed
2009 Cameroon
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).

Thomas 'Tommy' Nkono (born July 20, 1955 in Dizangue) is a retired Cameroonian footballer.

Arguably the greatest goalkeeper Africa has ever produced, he is mainly associated to RCD Espanyol, whom he represented for almost a decade.

Contents

Club career

After playing in his country with Éclair Douala, Canon Sportif de Yaoundé and Tonnerre Yaoundé, Nkono moved to Spain with RCD Español in 1982, after solid performances in the FIFA World Cup played in that country. He received the France Football African Footballer of the Year award in that year, and also in 1979.

With the Catalans, he hardly ever missed a match, going on to amass more than 300 official appearances. In 1988–89, however, he was not able to help prevent the club's relegation and, by the time it returned to the first division, he was already second-choice, to younger Vicente Biurrun.

Nkono would play three more years in Spain, incidentally also in Catalonia, with CE Sabadell FC (second level) and CE L'Hospitalet; he retired already in his 40's, with Club BolĂ­var from Bolivia. He subsequently returned to his main club as a goalkeeping coach, helping develop young talent (and countryman) Carlos Kameni.[1]

International career

A Cameroonian international for almost two decades, Nkono played in three World Cups: 1982, 1990 and 1994. In the first two, he was the undisputed starter, as the nation went out in the group stage without losing a match, and valliantly exited in the quarter-final against England, respectively.

In the very last minute of the 1994 edition's preparations, the 39 year-old was called as backup to Joseph-Antoine Bell, and did not play.

Nkono, who was the national side's goalkeepers coach, also worked briefly as interim coach, after German Otto Pfister resigned in protest.[2] The following month, as Paul Le Guen took the reins of the team, he was reset in his old post.[3]

Controversy

In 2002, Nkono was arrested by riot police for allegedly using "black magic", prior to the African Cup of Nations semi-final against Mali (3–0 win). He was dragged onto the running track after stepping onto the pitch at the March 26 Stadium, alongside coach Winfried Schäfer,[4] and eventually received a one-year ban,[5] which was then lifted, although he was not allowed to sit on the bench for the final.[6] There was speculation that an object found in his pocket was a black-magic charm aimed at helping Cameroon's cause.

Personal

Italian footballer Gianluigi Buffon, also a goalkeeper, declared he named his son Thomas in honour of Nkono.

References

External links


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