No doubt great players from African root had graced the field of play with their talents both on the continent and outside the continent to show how brilliant they were, among the players are Eto’o, Drogba, et al.
But in this piece, Cheapgoals in its review take a look back in time to list out the African dream team based on their club and national team performances.
Andre Onana – Cameroon/Ajax
The young Cameroonian started his career as a 13-year old kid with Barcelona in 2010 when he left his compatriot’s football foundation “Samuel Eto’o Foundation“.
Four years after moving down to Spain with the La Masia, Onana joined Netherlands champion Ajax Amsterdam, but then he made his debut with Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie, and in 2017 he signed a new contract with the Dutch powerhouse until 2021, plus another new contract until 2022 which he signed in March 2019 to tie him down with the former Champions League winner.
Onana also played for the Cameroonian youth team, he was named in Cameroon team for a friendly match against Les Blue of France in 2016 but made his full debut for the Indomitable Lion against Gabon in 2016 a match they came out triumphant.
The Cameroon number 1 won the Eredivise with Ajax in 2018-19, won the KNVB Cup in the same year, came second in the Europa League when they were beaten by United, and in 2019 he won the Johan Cruyff shield.
His exploit with his national team didn’t go unnoticed, as he won the Cameroonian footballer of the year in 2018, best African goalkeeper the same year, in 2019 he came out 7th in the Yashin Trophy and was also nominated with the Caf team of the year.
Troost Ekong – Nigeria/Udinese
Ekong started playing football with Fulham and Tottenham youth back in England, but his move down to the Turkish league with Bursaspor in 2017 did bring him into focus, as he showed the world what he’s capable of doing.
In 2018, Ekong sealed a move down to Udinese following a brilliant season with the Turkish outfit, in his first season he made 35 league appearances with Udinese in the Serie A, and since then he has been one of their important defenders.
He made his senior international debut for Nigeria in 2015, for the AFCON qualifier against Chad, played at the Rio Olympic, also at the World Cup in Russia as one of Nigeria’s best players.
Ekong also played an important role at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, where the Super Eagles came out third.
Kalidiou Koulibaly – Senegal/Napoli
The Senegalese defender began his professional club career with French team Metz in 2010, before moving to Belgian club Genk in 2012 where he shun like a million star by winning the Belgian Cup in his first season, and his performance with the Belgian outfit caught the eyes of the Italian club Napoli who signed him in 2014 and he went on to win the Supercopa Italian title.
Koulibaly made his senior debut with Senegal in 2015 and was a member of the squad that took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, he was also named in the Senegalese team that represented the Terenga Lions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup the following year, and a year after he helped his team to the AFCON final in 2019.
Koulibaly was named as a substitute in the CAF team of the year in 2016, 2018, and 2019, also in 2016-17, to 2018-19 he was also named among the Serie A team of the year thrice, he also won the Senegalese player of the year in 2017 and 2018.
Koulibaly’s performance last season won him Serie A best defender in 2018-19, named in the CAF AFCON team of the tournament, and in the same year, he was a nominee for FifPro World eleven.
Serge Aurier – Ivory Coast/Tottenham
Aurier is notably known for his exploit with the French clubs, most especially playing for Paris Saint-Germain where he won 11 major trophies with the Ligue 1 champion, and he was named in the team of the year while playing for PSG.
In 2017, Aurier joined Tottenham for a fee of around £23 million, he was part of the brilliant team built by the then manager Pochettino who led the team to their first champions league final.
The former PSG defender made his international debut for Ivory Coast in 2013 and has played over 50 games for the Ivorian, part of the appearance was his role for his the nation at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 3 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, which he won with Ivory Coast in 2015.
Aurier brilliant performance also got him named in CAF team of the year in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019, he was also part of the Afcon team of the tournament when they won the continent most prestigious competition in 2015, likewise in 2016, he was named among the FIFPro world eleven 5th team.
Baba Rahman – Ghana/Mallorca
Rahman notedly played most of his breathtaking football in Germany, but the club that comes to mind in all of those teams is definitely FC Augsburg where he shuns like a million star and his performance caught the eyes of Chelsea, who signed him in 2015 for 14 million pounds.
The Chelsea loanee made his international debut in 2014 and was part of the squad that finished as runners-up at the 2015 Afcon, a competition which he did play an important role for Ghana.
Although things aren’t really looking so rosy for him at club level, and his continued loan move is definitely a testament to that, but then looking at the year in review Rahman had been good for Ghana, Augsburg, and Chelsea.
Mikel Obi – Nigeria/Trabzonspor
When talking about one of the most successful Nigerian players for country and club, and to some extent in Africa, no doubt Mikel’s name will definitely be on the list. In 2006, Mikel made his first start for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League against Bulgarian club Levski Sofia and since then he went on to achieved success with the London outfit.
In the same year Mikel was named on the shortlist for the African Footballer of the Year along with former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba, among his achievements with the EPL side is the title he won in 2009-10 and 2014-15, he also won the FA Cup in 2007, 2009, and 2012, Football League Cup in 2007.
The title he won with the Blues that looks like an icing on the cake was the UEFA Champions League in 2012 and the UEFA second-tier title in 2013, his achievements with the national team are a testament to his greatness, among them is the AFCON title in 2013.
In 2016, Mikel left Chelsea for China, after the club announced that he will not be renewing his contract when it expired at the end of the season, he also had a stint with championship side Middlesbrough before he finally sealed a move to Turkey.
Mohamed Elneny – Egypt/Bekistas
Elneny began his senior career in the Egyptian Premier League, before moving to Swiss club Basel in 2013 where he shunned brilliantly for the Swiss outfit, he won eight honors with Basel before he sealed down a move to Arsenal in 2016.
His achievements also extend to the national team, he helped the national U23 team qualify for the 2012 Olympics, where he played in all four games as the team reached the last eight, but they were knocked out by Japan.
He was also part of the Egyptian team that got to the Afcon final in 2017, but lost out and went home as runners-up in Gabon, also in 2018 he was very instrumental for the Pharoahs in their quest to qualify for the World Cup in Russia which was their third appearance since Egypt last played at the World Cup in 1934 and 1990.
Sofiane Feghouli – Algeria/Galatasaray
Feghouli’s career was defined by his move to Valencia in 2010 when he signed a four years contract with the Mestalla outfit, but the following year Feghouli’s place in the team wasn’t guaranteed as he only appearing sparingly for Valencia which led to his loan move to Almeria.
Feghouli returned to Valencia a better player from Almería, and his breathtaking performances for Valencia in 2012 which earned him two Algerian players of the year awards, Le Buteur’s Algerian Ballon d’Or and the DZFoot d’Or.
He ended his Valencia career with 202 appearances, scoring 31 times and providing 40 assists, and in 2016 Feghouli joined West Ham on a three-year contract, he later left the Hammers for Galatasaray on a five-year year with the Turkish club.
Sadio Mane – Senegal/Liverpool
Mane’s growth into a big star has been tremendous right from his stint with Salzburg in 2012, which caught the attention of big club sides in Europe.
In 2014, Mané moved to Premier League side Southampton for £11.8 million, signing a four-year contract with the Saints, the move further showed why he is such a star every team wants to have in their rank, as he finished the season as Southampton’s top scorer, with 15 goals in all competitions.
Mane’s performance for the Saints got him a move to Liverpool in 2016, for a fee around £34 million on a five-year contract which made him the most expensive African player in history, and since he joined it’s has been a stellar performance and achievements for the Senegalese forward.
The mouthwatering performance for his club also trickle down to his national team, as he dragged Senegal to the Afcon 2019 final in Egypt and which they ended up as the runner-up, he also won the Caf award following a tremendous season with Liverpool and his national team.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – Gabon/Arsenal
Aubameyang’s rise to stardom has a lot to do with his second stint with Saint-Etienne when he signed for the French side on a permanent deal in 2011, throughout his stay with the Les Verts he played 73 matches for them and 35 goals to his name.
The Gabonese forward moved to Dortmund, following a good season with the French side, and he does have a magnificent stint with the Signal Iduna Park side, and in 2017 he ended the season as the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 31 goals, he also won the DFB-Pokal via a penalty to beat Eintracht Frankfurt.
In 2018, Aubameyang signed for Premier League club, Arsenal, for a then club-record fee reported to be £56 million, and he ended the season sharing the Premier League Golden Boot title with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané on 22 goals respectively, which he has also continued on a good note this season.
Mohammed Salah – Egypt/Liverpool
Mo Salah is no doubt one of the best African players in this era, the Egyptian joined Chelsea in 2014 from Basel for a fee around the region of £11 million, although Salah stint with the Blues didn’t go well he does have a domestic success with Chelsea before he was loaned to Florentina.
Those loan moves to Florentina and Roma grew Salah into what he became today, which got him the full confidence of the Giallorrosi side and they signed him on a permanent transfer in 2016 and they ended Serie A as runner-up behind Juventus.
Salah became the first Egyptian to play for Liverpool when he signed for the Anfield side in 2017, and his performances in the 2017-18 season saw him received numerous accolades, including PFA Players Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Player of the Year.
Since the Egyptian forward joined Liverpool, it’s has been a wonderful stint with the Kop which also transcends to the national team with Egypt.
Featured Image Credit: CAFonline
FIFA Congress To Decide Future Host Of FIFA Women’s World Cup™
Council assigns FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosting decision to the football governing body’s Congress; also approves financial statements for 2020 and budget for 2022.
Meeting by video conference, the Council conferred to the Congress the decision to award Women’s World Cup™ hosting rights.
Until now, the decision has been taken by the FIFA Council, most recently in June 2020 when the hosting rights for the 2023 edition were awarded to Australia and New Zealand.
As the football governing body seeks to raise the profile of the women’s game, this represents a significant step to bring the Women’s World Cup in line with the flagship men’s competition.
The proposal will be put forward for a final decision by the 71st FIFA Congress, which will meet virtually (for the second time) on 21 May.
International match calendar and release of players.
The FIFA Council received a report on the international football situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bureau of the Council had extended to April 2021 the temporary amendments to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players regarding the release of players for international duty, and FIFA, the confederations, and its member associations remain in dialogue with national authorities about exemptions from quarantine rules for national team players.
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The FIFA Council recognized that the highest priority in football is the health of the players, and therefore the discussion around the release of players for international duty must maintain this perspective, especially as the public health situation develops around the world.
2020 financials and 2022 budget
The Council also approved the organization’s Annual Report, which contains the financial statements for 2020 and the budget for 2022.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 focuses on the role played by world football’s governing body in the fight against COVID-19, primarily through the unprecedented COVID-19 Relief Plan, which has made available USD 1.5 billion to support FIFA’s 211 member associations and the confederations through times of financial uncertainty.
The FIFA Annual Report 2020 is available on the official site.
FIFA Arab Cup 2021™
The Council approved the competition regulations for the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, confirming the match schedule and draw procedure for the competition taking place in Qatar from 1 to 18 December this year.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
Paul Onuachu: A Victim Of Tactical Deficiency
Ever wondered why Genk forward Paul Onuachu has always been a prolific figure for his club and find it hard to replicate that form with the Super Eagles when invited?
The Nigeria international has been in awesome form for the Blue-White, scoring 26 goals in the Jupiler League this season for Genk, while his scoring prowess at his club has been a contrast to his form with the national team under Gernot Rohr scoring just once in 9 games despite being a top performer at club level.
Ahead of the AFCON qualifier doubleheader against Lesotho and the Benin Republic, Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr named his 23 man list with the inform former Midtjylland forward listed as one of the standby players.
Onuachu’s struggles with the Super Eagles in previous games he featured is quite baffling, considering the excitement that greeted his first appearance with the national team plus the impressive form he’s currently in.
The job of every manager is to find a suitable position or fashion out tactics that would be suitable for their players in other to blend with the team approaches to every match. In Onuachu’s case, he hasn’t been fortunate enough to blend in with Rohr’s tactics. While at club level, Midtjylland plays to his strength.
However, due to Napoli’s players been restricted from traveling, the Genk forward made it through the backdoor to replace Gernot Rohr’s number one forward Victor Osimhen who hasn’t really hit the ground running with the ‘Partenopei‘, but when with the Eagles, he never fails to deliver.
It’s no doubt that the lanky striker has failed to deliver in his previous games, disappointing the ever-demanding Nigerian football enthusiasts with unforgiving backlashes from the fans. However, his prolific prowess with his club suggests otherwise and consistently makes a case for him to be integrated into the team with a different tactical approach that suits his style.
The era of a target man may have been long gone in football due to the advent of new tactics that have brought about a series of changes in the game. With managers preferring to go with a fast, skillful, or makeshift winger- kind of striker, instead of a target man.
READ ALSO: Super Eagles: 9 Players Who Netted On Debut
Looking at how Paul Onuachu plays with Genk upfront shows he’s one of the best target men in football, despite been perceived by many as a slow and old-fashioned kind of forward. However, John van den Bromm has been able to carve out a tactic that suits him which has been evident with his prolific form irrespective of his style of play.
Onuachu’s Super Eagle future might be on the knife-edge with Gernot Rohr not finding the right tactics that suit the Genk forward, especially with him not been consider as the go-to man despite his blistering runs of form in Belgium.
In recent times Rohr’s philosophy of vibrant attacking football with an emphasis on passing in the final third which requires the expertise of brilliant players to implement such tactics hasn’t really favored him.
Having a player in the mold of Onuachu gives Rohr another tactical option and an alternative style of play should the initial approach fails to work as expected, but the German tactician hasn’t really taken advantage of what the man could offer with a different opponent.
Onuachu’s presence in the Super Eagles team should be an added advantage in terms of variety when the normal approach of the manager fails. With an in-form striker on the bench, it could prove valuable, but in the former Midtjylland’s case, Gernot Rohr doesn’t seem to see him as a player that has a future with the national team.
Players in the mold of the Nigerian are quite physically imposing as the point man, though they may not offer the team excellent off-the-ball movement in some cases. However, they often find a way to provide an opportunity which the team could utilize when attacking or defending.
Onuachu’s inability to show a good turn of pace and smart footwork may have been one of the deficiencies that are affecting his chances of blending perfectly into the team.
However, the job of a manager is to help players blend in perfectly, and that’s exactly what Gernot Rohr should be doing. Not only for Onuachu but for every other player who are always finding it hard to replicate club form with the National Team.