Despite confessing that “I’d already practically forgotten about my goal; it hadn’t occurred to me at all,” the 33-year-old was soon able to recall the decisive moment in July 2015 with total clarity. “As the English tried to clear their lines, the ball was headed in my direction. As luck would have it, I was able to do the first thing that came into my head – and if you can do that, something good usually comes out of it. I just gave it a go.”
The German-born midfielder has played for numerous sides in the land of the FIFA World Cup™ winners over the past 15 years, including historic clubs such as Borussia Monchengladbach, Hamburg and Hertha Berlin, but opted to represent his parents’ homeland at international level and has won five caps for Cameroon. He is now making a fresh start with second-tier Paderborn at the age of 33.
His remarkable strike has already been named goal of the month in Germany. When asked if he believes this bodes well for the FIFA Puskas Award vote, Ndjeng replied: “It’s difficult to say. At least eight of the ten nominations are absolutely world class, each one more spectacular than the last. Everyone has their personal favourite, whether it’s Messi’s strike or Castro’s effort. There are certainly a few big names in there.”
The midfielder has not yet contemplated the prospect of 11 January 2016, when James Rodriguez’s successor to the FIFA Puskas Award will be unveiled at Zurich’s Kongresshaus; after all, the question of whether his strike will be among the three best goals put to the final vote must be answered first. “For me it’s already amazing to be nominated at all,” he said. “Although I’ve watched all the contenders, I haven’t picked my favourite – but my entire family have already voted for me.”
Now it’s over to you! FIFA.com and francefootball.fr users can cast their vote by 30 November 2015 to determine which goals make it through pre-selection to be one of the final three shortlisted for the FIFA Puskas Award.