Friday, August 10, 2007
The world's most popular league gets back into gear tomorrow when The English Premiership starts play with matches around the country. The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal begin their quest for the championship of England and glory in Europe.
As you know, many of the best African footballers ply their trade in England. We all know about Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Kolo Toure. How about some of the other rising stars of African football?
Graeme Jackson of the fine African football website MTN Football presents an in-depth look at the best African footballers in the Premiership this season. Let's see what he has to say about some of the African players not named Drogba or Toure. It's a lengthy list, so only a few players are listed here. To read Jackson's full article, please click here!
Squad No: 25
With Thierry Henry having departed for Barcelona, Emmanuel Adebayor will be expected to establish himself as one of Arsenal’s leading forwards. He will have tough competition, though, with new signing Eduardo Da Silva and the prodigiously talented Robin van Persie standing in his way. But the Togo international has enough skill to be as big a hit in North London as his childhood hero Nwankwo Kanu was.
Squad No: 12
A MTN Africa Cup of Nations winner from 2004, Medhi Nafti played a prominent role in helping Birmingham gain promotion from the Championship. The combative midfielder’s game is well suited to the hurly-burly action of the Premiership and he will be an important player as the Blues look to consolidate their place in the top flight.
Nationality: South Africa
Squad No: 15
The aggressive and committed Aaron Mokoena (right) is equally comfortable in the heart of defence or as a defensive midfielder, where he has played most of his football for Rovers. The former Ajax Amsterdam hard-man’s versatility and strength make him a prefect fit for the English game and, as Arjen Robben (who had his ankle broken by Mokoena in a rough tackle two years ago) will tell you, he takes no prisoners.
Nationality: Cote d’Ivoire
Squad No: 5
Voted the club’s best newcomer at the end of last season after making more than 40 appearances in his debut season at Bolton, Cote d’Ivoire international defender Abdoulaye Meite is now a leading player at the Reebok Stadium. His experience, both at international level and with Marseille in Europe, will be important for a Bolton team who will balance the Premiership and UEFA Cup commitments.
Squad No: 4
Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo has become the foundation upon which coach David Moyes has built an effective and efficient Toffees team. Everton’s Young Player of the Year for 2003/04 has grown into a defender of rare vision and skill, all while retaining his characteristic strength and speed. This season he will hope to further enhance his reputation as one of England’s best defenders.
Squad No: 22
Mali international Momo Sissoko was a favourite of Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez from his spell with Valencia and the Spaniard’s faith in the midfielder has been rewarded since signing him for the Reds in mid-2005. The hard-working, no no-nonsense Sissoko has been a reliable option in the middle of the park, but he faces stiff competition from Argentinean Javier Mascherano for the anchor role.
Squad No: 5
Ibrahima Sonko has yet to officially commit his international future to Senegal, having played in nothing more than an unofficial friendly for the country, but it seems he will become a fully fledged international for the West African country in the not too distant future. The defender enjoyed a solid 2006/07 season, as did most of Reading’s players, and he will hope to continue his good form this campaign.
Squad No: 32
Young Cameroonian left back Benoît Assou-Ekotto (left) joined Spurs in June 2006 from Lens. He made 24 appearances last season and looked a promising prospect before injury cut his campaign short. He will hope to build on his strong showings and establish himself this year.