Eka Basunga Lokonda "Émile" Mpenza (born 4 July 1978) is a Belgian former footballer of Congolese descent who played as a striker. He has been capped at international level by Belgium. His older brother, Mbo, was also a footballer who represented Belgium.
Mpenza with Manchester City in 2007
|Full name||Eka Basunga Lokonda Mpenza|
|Date of birth||4 July 1978|
|Place of birth||Zellik, Belgium|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Belgium, Germany and QatarEdit
Mpenza started his career at K.V. Kortrijk, and then moved to R.E. Mouscron and Standard Liège in quick succession, with older brother Mbo playing alongside in all three clubs. In 2000, he moved to Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04, in an exchange with Michaël Goossens. At Schalke he was very successful together with his compatriot Marc Wilmots and other striker Ebbe Sand but they failed to win the German title on the last day of competition. Mpenza returned to Standard three years later. In 2004–05 he returned to Germany, signing for Hamburger SV. However, in January 2006 he made a surprise move to Qatari team Al Rayyan.
Mpenza signed for Manchester City, after playing and scoring in a specially arranged match at Eastlands on 14 February 2007. "I am not finished and I will prove it in Manchester", Mpenza told Belgian radio station Bel RTL. "I make this move as revenge, with respect to all those who criticised my decision to play in Qatar". He made his debut against Wigan Athletic on 3 March 2007 as a half-time substitute replacing Georgios Samaras. He scored his first goal for the club in the 2–0 win at Middlesbrough on 17 March 2007, and his second in the 1–0 victory at Newcastle United on 30 March. He scored once more in the 2006–07 season, away to Tottenham Hotspur on the last day of the season, as City lost 2–1.
Having signed until the end of the 2007–08 season, Mpenza scored on City's first pre-season game of the 2007–08 season away to Doncaster Rovers. He would also equalise against Fulham and put City ahead against Bristol City and Newcastle United. However, facing competition for his place from Rolando Bianchi, Valeri Bojinov, Geovanni and Elano, all signed by new City manager Sven-Göran Eriksson in summer 2007, Mpenza did not score again after September, and was released in July 2008.
He then signed for Championship side Plymouth Argyle on 2 September 2008. Mpenza went on to make his Argyle debut as a sub on 70 minutes in a 2–1 defeat to Norwich City on 13 September. He then scored his first goal for the club against Charlton Athletic in a 2–2 draw, and scored again in a 2–1 win over Cardiff City. However Mpenza's time at Plymouth Argyle was blighted by injury and therefore he was not offered a new contract.
For the 2009–10 season, Mpenza signed a one-year contract with Swiss Topflight club FC Sion. Here he rediscovered his eye for goal by scoring 21 goals in 32 matches.
In August 2010, Mpenza signed a three-year contract with Azerbaijan Premier League club Neftchi Baku. He left the club in January 2012, having lost his place in the team during the 2011–12 season.
Mpenza played for the Belgium national football team between 1997 and 2009, though he was frequently injured in times of international call-ups. He played alongside his brother Mbo in the 1998 World Cup and in Euro 2000 where he scored a goal in the opening match against Sweden (which ended with Belgium's victory 2–1), but missed out on the World Cup in 2002 with a groin injury.
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- "Club confirms released players list". Manchester City FC. 3 July 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2008.
- "Mpenza pens deal". Plymouth Argyle FC. 2 September 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
- "Plymouth 2–2 Charlton". BBC. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
- "Plymouth 2–1 Cardiff". BBC. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2009.
- "Ex-Schalke Emile Mpenza changes to Azerbaijan". Goal.com. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Emile Mpenza de retour au Standard?" (in French). RTL Sport. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- Aliyev, Elmir (20 January 2012). "Belgian footballer Emile Mpenza leaves Neftchi". News.az. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- "ФИФА пригрозила Нефтчи: Выплатите Мпензе миллион евро или клуб ждут санкции!". azerifootball.com (in Russian). Azerifootball. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "Eendracht Aalst brings back forgotten Mpenza" (in Dutch). sporza.be. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- "Valencia 0-0 Hamburg (Aggregate: 0 - 1)". uefa.com. Retrieved 14 June 2020.