TALENTS CONFIRMED OR RESURRECTED
By Abou Cissé, US Africa News. Updated 2015-08-27
The major European leagues are acquiring players from the African Continent, one after the other, who will strengthen their reputations or build new ones.
The players who have proven themselves:
English Premier League: Ayew and Mahrez break out
After playing several seasons in League 1 in Marseille, André Ayew has everything it takes to become a sensation in England, first with respect to his game, which is full of generousity. The 26-year-old Ghanian started the season to fanfare with his new club Swansea, scoring twice in two days. In the same vein, the Algerian Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) is currently top scorer with three goals. The Algerian makes his second season with the Foxes after an initial apprenticeship.
How far will these two men go? We'll see if Black Jordan Star Ayew and Baba (Chelsea), break out during the year, along with their colleagues the Lion of Teranga, Gana Gueye Idriss (Aston Villa), the Elephant Max-Alain Gradel (Bournemouth), the Malian N'golo Kanté (Leicester City) and Indomitable Lion Njie Clinton (Tottenham)
League 1 : Moukandjo and Sio and have an edge
Cameroon striker Benjamin Moukandjo knows League 1 well, having played with Monaco, Nancy and Reims, but as a wildcard. With Lorient, the Indomitable Lion takes on another role, as a principal, being the offensive leader of the Merlus. With this new status, the 26-year-old can finally leverage his talent for being a serial scorer. He already scored his first goal last weekend.
Groomed in Nantes, the Ivorian striker Giovanni Sio wears the colors of Rennes this season after playing abroad, including in Basel and Bastia last season. He helped the Corsican club to remain in the top ranks through his scoring achievements. With the Red and Black he will try to be consistent over the season by being a fearsome goalscorer. He has already scored a goal this season, and if Gourcuff joins Rennes and is in top form, Sio can shine by receiving his gifts.
Italian Serie A: Ghoulam, the Algerian flourishes
Algerian side Faouzi Ghoulam, who arrived in Naples in January 2014, has become an essential linchpin of the Neapolitan workforce by churning out a very consistent performance. He has succeeded in adaptating himself; so much so that PSG wants to secure his services for this new year. If the former Saint Etienne player remains in Italy, he can become one of the best sides in the championship.
Spanish La Liga: Bailly, charting a new course
After a full season with the Barcelona Espanyol, Villarreal has set its sights on the 2015 African champion to rebuild their central defense after the departure of some of their principal players. A great promotion for the 21-year-old who is going to play a leading role in the league with the yellow submarine. Star of an excellent 2015 African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, Eric Bertrand Bailly has everything it takes to be one of the revelations of this League.
League NOS Portugal: Aboubakar, having a good year
With the departure this summer of Colombian Jackson Martinez for Atlético Madrid, the way seems open for Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar to succeed him and break through with the Dragons. The Indomitable Lion, who was the standby for Cafetero, must seize this opportunity to make a hit. A sure value.
Premier League: Yaya Toure, Papiss and Mame Biram Diouf show the way
Many African players have joined the English league during this summer’s transfer window. Despite the influx, in the most competitive and richest league in the world, the Ivorian Yaya Toure (Manchester City) as well as Senegalese Papiss Demba Cissé (Newcastle), who played for several seasons across the Channel, have already made their marks on the 2015/2016 season. With slightly less experience in England, Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) has also found his way to the net after two days.
They may be followed later in the season by the Senegalese Diafra Sakho (West Ham) and Sadio Mané (Southampton), and the Congolese Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace), who have all exploded during the previous year with their training. Not to mention the Ivorian Wilfried Bony (Manchester City), who had racked up goals with Swansea and will repeat these feats with a top league. A mammoth feat to enter the big leagues like Didier Drogba.
League 1: Serge Aurier settled in the upper ranks
Despite the departure of some African players to England, good players still remain in France. For example, the Ivorian Serge Aurier, who is settling in at PSG this season at right full-back position, after a first half season. Scorer at the championship trophy in Montreal against Lyon last month, the 2015 African champion has confirmed his good intentions to the league and put Dutchman Van der Wiel on the bench. This takeover, as the best right-back in League 1 during the 2012/2013 season, will be confirmed in the coming months.
Unscathed by injuries, the Malian striker Cheick Diabate, who is feeling renewed, has all the weapons to achieve a full season and allow Bordeaux to play the top 5. Recall that last season he scored 8 goals while playing only the first part of the season. We are also following the performance of Congolese center Prince Oniangue (Reims), who is making a third season in League 1. The 26-year-old is expected to join a good European club or a big French club next summer. Note also the return of Ghanaian Majeed Waris. The former player of Valenciennes landed at Lorient. During his time in the north, the 23-year-old scored 9 goals in 16 games between January and May 2014.
Bundesliga: a four-way contest
In Germany, four men could be jostling for the title of best African player in Germany this season. They are the Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Moroccan Mehdi Benatia (Bayern Munich), Cameroonian Eric Choupo-Moting (Schalke 04) and Ivorian Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin). All four scored during the first day of the new season.
Serie A: Salah and Gervinho, the kings of Italy
For six months, from January to May, the Egyptian Mohamed Salah lent himself to Fiorentina to qualify for the Europa League. The 23-year-old is continuing his second life in Italy, but now in Rome with AS Roma, who he joined this month via loan; he belongs to Chelsea.
Unlike Fiorentina, the Roma are battling with Turin Juventus for the title and have qualified for the Champions League. This offers him another level and new expectations. He will be accompanied by the Ivorian Gervinho, who will begin his third season in the Italian capital. The Elephant will try to reach new heights by scoring over ten league goals.
Liga: Kameni, El Arabi, Feghouli, on the same path
Carlos Idriss Kamenis begin his 12th season in Spain next week, the third with the Andalusian club Malaga. Last season, he managed to be selected as number one over Mexican goalie Ochoa, who already has a global reputation. This season, the 31-year-old goalkeeper will try to keep the position he acquired last year.
We see a parallel trajectory for the Moroccan striker Youssef El Arabi who had shone in Caen for a few years in League 1, especially during the 2010/2011 season. Now in Granada, he is attacking his third season with the Andalusian club with the aim of scoring ten goals, as he did during the 2013/2014 season, and keep the club playing the most matches possible. Finally, the Algerian Sofiane Feghouli did not have enough playing time last season. The Algerian hopes he will spend a little more time with Valencia unless he goes elsewhere before the end of August.
Liga NOS: Brahimi and Slimani at the crossroads
Playing brilliantly in the Champions League with Porto last season, Yacine Brahimi has been a little less stellar with the Dragons, with only 7 goals. As a result, Benfica were the champions. The offensive center must shine in the two competitions in order to join a big European team at a higher level than Porto.
Another veteran of the selection process, striker Islam Slimani, managed his first season with Sporting Club Portugal with 12 goals in the league and two in the Champions League. He is facing the notorious second season, in which he needs to confirm with a contract extension through 2020, showing that the Lions are counting on him to regain the heights nationally and in Europe.
Turkish Süper Lig: Eto'o, a second wind
After playing Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Chelsea, the former striker of the Cameroon national team landed in Turkey this summer with Antalyaspor. The Indomitable Lion wants to help them move up to compete with the big Turkish teams (Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbache). In any case, the Cameroon striker has already proved himself decisively with a double on the first day of the Turkish league.
Russian League: Doumbia and Musa, the reformed duo
Recruited by the Roma in January, Doumbia, the Ivorian striker failed to shine in Italy. The 27-year-old was on loan for six months at his former club CSKA Moscow, in order to refresh himself and come back stronger in January 2016 in the Italian capital. With Nigeria's Ahmed Musa, the club will try to be Russian champions and qualify for the Champions League season 2015/2016.
Players headed for resurrection
Greek Superleague Ellada: The rise of Michael Essien
The Ghanaian midfielder had average seasons in the last clubs where he played (Real Madrid, AC Milan). This choice to join an organization in the second zone, but evolving into one of the biggest clubs in the country, Panathinaikos, will perhaps allow Essien to recover his former level of play.
Serie A: Kwadwo Asamoah, out of the woods
While Juventus celebrated a new league title and reached the final of the Champions League, the Ghanaian midfielder was in the hospital because of a sore knee. Having had a good 2013-2014 season, the Black Star will try to rebound in this new season, especially as some senior players such as Tevez Pirlo have left the club.
Liga: Is Alex Song returning?
After an unsatisfactory loan in the Premier League when he joined West Ham, the Cameroonian player, 26, is back in Barcelona. At present he is looking for another option because he does not fit into Luis Enrique’s plans. Will the Song of Arsenal surface again this season at a club that builds on his talents?