Vicente Engonga

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Vicente Engonga
Personal information
Full name Vicente Engonga Maté
Date of birth (1965-10-20) 20 October 1965 (age 53)
Place of birth Barcelona, Spain
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1986 Gimnástica 51 (2)
1986–1991 Sporting Mahonés 112 (3)
1991–1992 Valladolid 37 (2)
1992–1994 Celta 72 (0)
1994–1997 Valencia 69 (2)
1997–2002 Mallorca 149 (4)
2002–2003 Oviedo 11 (1)
2003Coventry City (loan) 8 (0)
Total 509 (14)
National team
1998–2000 Spain 14 (1)
Teams managed
2008–2009 Equatorial Guinea
2011 Mallorca B
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Vicente Engonga Maté (born 20 October 1965) is a Spanish retired footballer who played mainly as a central midfielder but occasionally as a sweeper.

He played for six different professional clubs in his career, having his longest and most successful spell at Mallorca in spite of arriving at the club at the age of 32. In total, he appeared in 327 La Liga games and scored eight goals over the course of 11 seasons.

Engonga represented Spain at the Euro 2000, being an international for two years.

Club career[edit]

Born in Barcelona, Catalonia of Equatorial Guinean descent,[1] Engonga spent his childhood in the Cantabria region, where his father was a footballer.[2] He started his senior career with local lower league club Gimnástica de Torrelavega, and then played for CF Sporting Mahonés.

In 1991, Engonga moved to Real Valladolid in La Liga. In his first year the club were relegated to Segunda División and he left to Celta de Vigo, with whom he was a finalist in the 1994 Copa del Rey.[3]

In the 1994 summer, Engonga was bought by league powerhouse Valencia CF, where he played three seasons: after a shaky start he appeared in 35 games in 1996–97, although the Che finished tenth. Subsequently, he moved to RCD Mallorca under Héctor Cúper's supervision, alongside other five former teammates – including Iván Campo.

Engonga displayed his best football at the Balearic Islands side, helping them win the 1998 Spanish Supercup after beating FC Barcelona 3–1 on aggregate. also that year, Mallorca reached the final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, losing 1–2 to S.S. Lazio.[4]

During the 2000–01 campaign, Engonga scored twice in 31 league matches as his team earned a third-place finish, qualifying to the UEFA Champions League for the first time. In their first match in the competition, he scored the only goal of the game to defeat Arsenal at Son Moix, an 11th-minute penalty after Ashley Cole had been sent off for fouling Albert Luque.[5]

In 2002, Engonga's contract expired and he joined second level's Real Oviedo where he played for six months before moving abroad in late January 2003, signing a six-month loan deal with English club Coventry City, in the Football League Division One.[6] At the end of the season the 37-year-old retired, going on to work with Mallorca in several coaching capacities.

International career[edit]

On 23 September 1998, aged nearly 33, Engonga made his debut with the Spanish national team, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 friendly win over Russia in Granada.[7] He was the second-oldest player to debut for the country after Ferenc Puskás, who was 34 and had previously represented Hungary.[8]

Engonga scored his first and only goal on 5 May 1999 in a friendly with Croatia, equalising in an eventual 3–1 success in Seville.[9] He was picked for the UEFA Euro 2000 squad, making a late substitute appearance in a 2–1 group stage win against Slovenia at the Amsterdam Arena[10] which was the last of his 14 caps.

Engonga was the first Spanish-born black player to play for the nation.[11] During his career, he also represented the unofficial Cantabria autonomous team.[2]

In August 2008, Engonga was appointed manager of Equatorial Guinea.[12]

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 5 May 1999 La Cartuja, Seville, Spain  Croatia 1–1 3–1 Friendly[13]

Personal life[edit]

Engonga's younger brother, Óscar, was also a professional midfielder. He played most of his career in the lower leagues of Spain, but was at Valladolid at the same time as Vicente.

Engonga's nephew, Igor, was called by Equatorial Guinea for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.




  1. ^ Footballers step-out of 'Eel's' shadow; BBC Sport, 8 May 2007
  2. ^ a b Qué fue de… Engonga (What happened to… Engonga); 20 Minutos, 11 January 2009 (in Spanish)
  3. ^ Copa del Rey (1994 Spanish Cup); at Geocities
  4. ^ "1998/99: Lazio leave it late". 19 May 1999. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  5. ^ Brodkin, Jon (12 September 2001). "Cole sent off as Gunners slump". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  6. ^ Coventry snap up Engonga; BBC Sport, 13 February 2003
  7. ^ "Camacho debuta con épica" [Camacho has epic debut]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 24 September 1998. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Navarro, el tercer debutante más "viejo"" [Navarro, third "oldest" debutant]. ABC (in Spanish). 15 November 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  9. ^ "España sigue disfrutando" [Spain continue to enjoy themselves]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 6 May 1999. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Etxeberria spares Spain's blushes against Slovenia". 6 October 2003. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  11. ^ Jonas Ramalho helping to dispel longstanding Athletic Bilbao myth; Sports Illustrated, 23 November 2011
  12. ^ Vicente Engonga deja el Mallorca para dirigir a Guinea Ecuatorial (Vicente Engonga leaves Mallorca to coach Equatorial Guinea); Soitu, 4 August 2008 (in Spanish)
  13. ^ "España vence a Croacia en la inauguración del Estadio Olímpico de Sevilla" [Spain defeats Croatia in la opening of Sevilla Olympic Stadium]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 6 May 1999. Retrieved 23 January 2016.

External links[edit]