Valery Mezague; A Forgotten Indomitable Lion
Born in France in 1983, Valery was only 19 years old in 2003 when he accepted to play for Cameroon, turning down a call-up to the French junior team.
The records have it that he was an extremely talented midfielder, one that had the technical aptitude to dictate the pace of a game. His ascension to the pro level was so fast.
At just 15, he was identified by Roger Milla in a youth tournament in France, and Milla got him to be signed by Montpellier. He played his 1st pro game at 17 in a cup match and two years later, he debuted in Ligue 1, scoring against Nice.
A "battle" would later erupt between France and Cameroon over the generational talent, and in 2003 he would choose Cameroon senior team over the French junior team. The 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup was his first tournament with the Indomitable Lions, and he settled in well and helped the team a lot. The day Marc-Vivien Foé slumped and passed away, it was Valery Mezague who replaced him in the 75th minute.
THE ACCIDENT THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE FOREVER
Following Foé's burial, Valery returned to France. On a fateful Thursday, 31st July 2003, he was driving around Marseille to go meet his family. It was getting to midnight and he was feeling fatigued on the wheel. What followed was a life-threatening accident.
The player only woke up on a hospital bed after three days in a coma. Doctors explained to him that he had been drowsy while driving. He said he had not taken any alcohol and only remembered feeling dizzy. He suffered head trauma in the accident and was told his head would never be the same again.
A CAREER TO PIECES!
Six months later, Valery made his return to the pitch fully aware of the challenge ahead. However, he would never recover the full abilities that had seen him progress so rapidly.
"There were two versions of Valery: the one before the accident and the one after," his one-time friend Omar Daf later said.
"There were times on the pitch that the player seemed disconnected from the game, and lost in his thoughts," former Sochaux president Jean-Claude Plessis later revealed to SOFOOT.
From the time of his return, Valery hardly spent two consecutive seasons in one club. After a season on loan at Portsmouth, he went to Sochaux and was loaned out again to Le Havre where things became better and he was called up again by Cameroon. He would then join Chateauroux, and then Vannes in search of consistency which kept evading him.
He subsequently moved out of France to play for Panetolikos and Bury FC, featuring only 10 times for both clubs from 2011 to 2013, and later went for more than a year without a club.
VALERY MEZAGUE PASSES AWAY!
In 2014, still not having given up on his love for football, and still wishing for a revival, he joined Toulon in France's fourth tier.
On November 15th, 2014, Valery MEZAGUE was found lifeless in his house, at the age of 30, without any signs of violence.
That is the tragedy of a player that was described as a generational talent–a player that was on course to leave his own footprints on the historic sands of Cameroon's rich football history.