Sports Features of Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Source: SAMMY HEYWOOD OKINE
*Now that the 2010/ 2011 football season has ended, we take opportunity of
the break to look at the top 11 Afro stars in Europe.*
African players graced the football pitches of Europe's finest leagues once
again this season, and many of these were key individuals whose performances
allowed them to stand out among their peers. A number of men made their mark
in the goalscoring charts, while others were able to create assists for
Some broke records in their respective top flights, leading to personal
recognition and team success, with leagues and cups won due to great effort
on the part of these stars. Many were well-balanced examples of hard work
and raw talent, showing consistency throughout a long European season.
It was not easy to finalise the top 11 for this category, as the African
continent is well represented in Europe and many shone during the course of
2010-11, but despite the difficulty, certain players were indisputably
deserving of the honour.
With that in mind, lets take some time to reflect on the Top 11 Africans in
Europe for the 2010-11 season.
*11.Seidu Keita (FC Barcelona)*
The Malian was able to make it into the top eleven when he became part of
the Barca team that beat Manchester United to lift the UEFA Champions League
trophy. With top performers like the legend Lionel Messi, Xavi, Pedro,
Iniesta, Villa and others in the squad, he had to play second fiddle, but
Keita is an European champion for 2010/11.
*10. Kevin-Prince Boateng (AC Milan)*
The Ghana midfielder carried his momentum from the World Cup into 2010-11,
and fully established himself as an AC Milan player as soon as his boots
touched the pitch. The 24-year-old had an outstanding campaign overall,
contributing some crucial goals and battled in the Rossoneri midfield with
determination and stamina to help them win the Serie A title.
*9. Yaya Toure (Manchester City)*
The experienced Ivorian midfielder has had a fantastic first season at
Manchester City. His pace and strength on the ball allowed him to underline
an impressive campaign with a goal in both the semi-final and final of the
FA Cup at Wembley Stadium to give the Citizens their first trophy in 35
years. These exploits have secured Toure a place in the club's history
*8. Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland)*
The 25-year-old Ghanaian was a revelation at Sunderland, fitting in quickly
and repaying the club's fans with important goals against top opposition. He
made an excellent start in England, with 10 goals in 30 appearances in the
league, and although his influence waned as the season went on, he showed
glimpses of real class and superb skill. His dancing celebrations have also
endeared him to the fans. He is in contention for the Best Player Award in
*7. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)*
The physical striker is an irreplaceable part of Chelsea’s squad. Drogba's
pace, power and skill makes life difficult for most defenders, and although
he did not impress as much as last season for the Blues, his 11 goals helped
to propel the London club into title contention, losing out to Manchester
United in the end. The Ivorian is in a class of his own, and is often
considered an example for his peers.
*6. Gervinho (Lille)*
Many will agree that Gervinho has been one of the main reasons for Lille's
success in France throughout this year. The French Cup has been won, and the
Ligue 1 title is within reach, largely due to fine play from the frontman.
The Cote d'Ivoire star provided countless assists for his team-mates, and
was able to get on the score sheet on many important occasions to set up a
potential domestic double for his club.
*5. Peter Odemwingie (West Brom)*
The Nigerian striker has been in blistering form this season. A goalscoring
return of 15 in 29 Premier League games for a team that punched above its
weight all season shows that he is comfortable with the English game. He led
West Brom to victory against Arsenal at the Emirates and scored in five
consecutive Premier League games in April and May, breaking records at the
club and winning personal accolades in the process. No wonder he was named
best African Player in the Premiership.
*4. Papiss Demba Cisse (Freiburg)*
Cisse has been the Bundesliga's second highest goalscorer this year behind
Mario Gomez. His strikes were the main reason why Freiburg were able to save
themselves from a relegation battle and aim higher than they are used to.
The Ivorian scored 22 goals, breaking Tony Yeboah's record for the most
goals by an African player in a season in the German top flight.
*3. Andre Ayew (Marseille)*
After an impressive display of his maturing talent at the World Cup in South
Africa, Ayew became a regular starter in the Marseille squad. Playing on the
left, his pace and strength have no comparison in Ligue 1, and his ability
to dictate the play despite his young age is astonishing. He has the stamina
to run for 90 minutes without tiring, and was nominated for the Ligue 1
Young Player of the Season award.
*2. Moussa Sow (Lille)*
The Senegalese striker has made a huge impact on Ligue 1 this season with a
phenomenal return of 21 goals in 33 games for Lille, and as a result the
team is on the verge of clinching the league title, after recently winning
the French Cup. Sow has been one of the best free transfers of the campaign,
and certainly one of Africa's best in Europe during 2010-11.
*1. Samuel Eto'o (Inter)*
The captain of Cameroon's Indomitable Lions has enjoyed another magnificent
year on a personal level, showing consistency through a number of coaching
changes at Inter, and proving himself to be a world-class striker, scoring
21 goals in Serie A to add to his eight strikes in the Champions League. The
2010 African Player of the Year added the Club World Cup to his trophy count
in December, scoring for the Nerazzurri in the final against Africa's TP
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