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Sports News of Monday, 18 June 2018


Andre Ayew among top African stars watching the World Cup from home

The African continent will be adequately represented at the World Cup in Russia but there are some top stars who have missed out on the party as their national teams failed to qualify.

We profile five African players who will be watching from the comfort of their homes.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon‚ Arsenal)

For all his explosive power in front of goal at Arsenal‚ Aubameyeng could not help Gabon to Russia. Gabon’s limitations were laid bare on home soil during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations where they failed to get out of a group that contained Cameroon‚ Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau‚ and that was followed by failure to qualify for Russia.

Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast‚ Manchester United)

Jose Mourinho froze the central defender out in the closing stages of the English Premiership season because Ivory Coast narrowly lost out to Morocco. Mourinho gave opportunities to the likes of Phil Jones‚ Chris Smalling‚ Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelöf‚ whose countries had qualified for the tournament.

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria‚ Leicester City)

With the help of Mahrez‚ the Desert Foxes were one of the two African sides to reach the knockout stages in Brazil in 2014. But their qualification to Russia was a disaster as they only picked up one point from their six games in Group B and ended bottom behind Nigeria‚ Zambia and Cameroon.

Andre Ayew (Ghana‚ Swansea City)

Andre and Jordan became the second brothers to get relegated with an English Premier League team in the form of Swansea City last season. The Black Stars failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 2002‚ pipped to the finishing line by Egypt in Group E where Ghana ended third behind runners-up Uganda.

Naby Keita (Guinea‚ RB Leipzig)

The World Cup could have been a good opportunity for the 23-year old Guinean who is bound for Liverpool. But‚ Guinea‚ hardly a top side on the continent‚ were eliminated from the qualifiers with a game to spare as they only managed three points from five outings on what was a dismal campaign.