Wednesday May 31, 2023. 15:00
DR Congolese star Chancel Mbemba has scooped the 2023 Prix Marc-Vivien Foé following a successful season in France.
The accolade is an honour to the late Marc-Vivien Foé of Cameroon awarded to the best player who represents an African national football team in Ligue 1.
Olympique Marseille defender is the second player from DR Congo to win the accolade awarded by a jury of sports journalists at RFI, France 24 as well as consultants and former players.
“I’m very proud to have won. And it has come after my first year in France too. I really worked hard because there’s a lot of talent in Ligue 1,” Mbemba told RFI.
The 28-year-old’s success comes two years after compatriot Gaël Kakuta won the prize. “When I arrived in France, I said to myself that I had to work hard and show my qualities to everyone,” said Mbemba.
“I have a strong relationship with Gaël. We’re always together on the national team. He was an example for me to follow when I arrived in France.”
Boasting nearly 70 caps with the DR Congo national team, Mbemba is one of the cornerstones of Sébastien Desabre’s team.
“When you’re called up to the national team, you have to be proud,” Mbemba said.
“I was called up in 2012 for the first time by Claude Le Roy. Back then I was in Anderlecht’s reserves and he called me to come and train with the senior team. I jumped at the chance and played my first game against the Seychelles in Kinshasa.
“Nobody knew me, because I hadn’t played for any of the DRC’s big clubs like Mazembe or AS Vita,” Mbemba added.
“But everyone in family was really proud. When I finished the match, I went back to my neighbourhood and it was a party.”