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Sports News of Thursday, 7 May 2020

Source: goal.com

African Legends Cup of Nations: Sammy Kuffour vs Mohamed Salah

Two UEFA Champions League winners go head to head in Wednesday’s Afcon Last 16 bout.

African Legends Cup of Nations

Mohamed Salah and Samuel Osei Kuffour both know what it takes to conquer European football, with the duo having won the Champions League during their time with Liverpool and Bayern Munich respectively.

They’ve also progressed to the African Legends Cup of Nations Round of 16 after dispatching testing First Round opponents.

Salah squeezed past his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane in one of the most hotly anticipated contests of the first round, while Kuffour had a slightly more comfortable time of things against Morocco talisman Noureddine Naybet.

However, only one of the duo can progress to the Alcon quarter-final…who’s it going to be?

International Career

For all his quality, Kuffour left little impression on the Africa Cup of Nations, only once reaching the semi-finals in his five tournament appearances for Ghana.

Salah, similarly, can rue his fortune at Africa’s showpiece, while he was influential in 2017 as Egypt reached the final only to fall short against Cameroon, he was part of the dismal Pharaohs side that was eliminated in the Round of 16 on home soil two years later.

At the World Cup, Kuffour has the edge.

He was part of the Ghana team that reached the Last 16 in 2006—their first-ever appearance at the global showpiece—although the centre-back didn’t do himself justice in Germany.

While Salah was influential in dragging Egypt to the 2018 event—their first appearance since 1990—a lack of fitness and off-field troubles meant it was a tournament to forget for the Liverpool star.

Salah: 6/25 Kuffour: 7/25

Club Career

Both of these have endured heartbreak in the final of the Champions League, having been defeated finalists in 2018 and 1999 respectively.

However, both bounced back to triumph, Salah netting against Tottenham Hotspur as Liverpool won the title last season, and Kuffour starring in 2001 as Bayern Munich beat Valencia to make up for their heartbreak against Manchester United.

While Salah and Liverpool would have their hands on the Premier League by now had it not been for Covid-19, and while he won silverware in Switzerland, the rest of his club career cannot compare to that of Kuffour.

The Black Stars centre-back won six Bundesliga titles with Bayern, no African player has more, and also clinched a swathe of major honours with the German heavyweights.

His ‘club career’ score of 23 is one of the highest of any of our African legends.

Salah: 8 Kuffour: 23

Individual Accolades

Salah eclipses Kuffour here, with a score of 17 to five.

The Ghanaian never made the Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament across his five appearances, although he was twice runner-up in the African Footballer of the Year award.

He was named BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2001.

Salah, by contrast, has amassed a swathe of individual honours, having won both the BBC and the Caf APOTY award on two occasions each.

The forward is also a two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner—Didier Drogba is the only other African player to have achieved this feat—and he’s won the Player of the Year award in both Switzerland and England.

He’s made Caf’s Team of the Year on four occasions, and has also made the FIFPro XI twice—testament to his prominence within the global game in recent years.

Salah: 17 Kuffour: 5

Abilities

Salah also edges this category.

In terms of goalscoring, Salah has proved himself to be one of the elite game-winners in the Premier League today, and he’s also capable of moments of magic—remember that stunner against Chelsea!?

His movement and pace can unsettle the world’s best defences, and he’s both a player for the big stage and a man for the high-pressured situation.

He netted the opening goal of the 2018 UCL final against Spurs—sending Liverpool on their way to victory—and also proved he can do it in various African outposts as he dragged the Pharaohs to the 2018 World Cup.

Kuffour was an excellent centre-back; well-rounded, physically immense, and mentally astute, although injuries did take their toll on the latter stages of his career.

In his prime, he was one of Europe’s finest defenders, but in terms of ability, cannot match Salah.

Salah: 23 Kuffour: 19

Overall Rating

For the first time in the 2020 African Legends Cup of Nations, we have a tie, with both Salah and Kuffour coming home with 54 points.

While the Liverpool superstar edged his rival in terms of individual accolades and ability, the defender’s immense successes with Bayern Munich have drawn him level.

It’s an unprecedented situation for the Alcon, and we need your help in a tie-breaker to decide who advances.

Please vote below and let us know who should progress.

Salah: 54 Kuffour: 54

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