AFRICAN STARS SET TO LIGHT UP 2019-20 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

With Europe’s elite club competition set to begin in just a few days, we take a look at how the African continent is influencing Europe’s most coveted club competition. The 32 UEFA Champions League group stage teams have to submit an A list and a B list of players that they intend to utilize during the group stages.

A maximum of 25 players can be on the A list, There is a minimum of eight places reserved exclusively for locally trained players. The B list is made up of players born on, or after, 1 January 1998 and have been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday.

Over the years some of the Champions League magic has come from African legends, last season four African stars were integral in Liverpool’s impressive run and eventual triumph, Mohammed Salah of Egypt, Joel Matip of Cameroon, Naby Keita of Guinea and Sadio Mane of Senegal.

First winner

The Merseyside based team gave Africa its first Champions League winner in 1984 in controversial Zimbabwean goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar.

In 1987 Algerian legend Rabah Madjer scored a memorable equalizer for FC Porto against Bayern Munich and then going on to set up the winner to give the Portuguese side their first ever UEFA Champions League title.

McDonald Mariga

Kenyan midfielder turned political aspirant McDonald Mariga became the first Kenyan to win the European title in 2010-11.

The only African player to win back to back Champions League trophies is Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o who also holds the record for most European club competitions played by an African player.

Ivorian goal machine Didier Drogba holds the title for most goals scored by an African player in European club competition. Other Africans to have won the elite UEFA competition include, Abedi Pele, Nwankwo Kanu, Finidi George, Geremi Njitap, Beni McCarthy, Seydou Keita, Yaya Toure, Michael Essien, Salmon Kalou, John Obi Mikel and Achraf Hakimi.

Below is a list of players with eligibility to play for African nations, European youth internationals have been included as we have seen various players in the past switching allegiance to play for their nation of origin most notably members of the Algerian national team that won the AFCON this year, Sofiane Feghouli, Ismael Bennacer, Yacine Brahimi and Rais M’Bolhi amongst others.

If the proper structures are set in place by football federations in Africa, this would attract some of these players to play for their country of origin. Players such as Tammy Abraham who have played at senior international level, but only friendly matches are still eligible to make a switch.

Algeria – 13

Sofiane Feghouli (GALATASARAY/TUR), Amine Gouiri, Houssem Aouar, Rayan Cherki, Cedric Augarreau, Nassim Benaissa, Idris Bounaas, Djibrail Dib (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA), Riyad Mahrez (MANCHESTER CITY/ENG), Faouzi Ghoulam (NAPOLI/ITA), El Arbi Hillel Soudani, Yassine Benzia (OLYMPIACOS/GRE), Adil Aouchiche (PARIS SG/FRA)

Angola – 4

Florentino (BENFICA/POR), Clinton Mata (CLUB BRUGGE/BLG), Bruno Gaspar (OLYMPIACOS/GRE), Castello Lukeba (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS, FRA)

Benin – 2

Ryan Sessegnon (TOTTENHAM/ENG), Colin Dagba (PARIS SG/FRA)

Burkina Faso – 5

Hassan Bande, Lassina Traore (AJAX AMSTERDAM/HOL), Ben Qadir Abou Outtara (LILLE/FRA), Bertrand Traore, Abdoulaye Outtara (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA)

Cameroon – 8

Andre Onana (AJAX AMSTERDAM/HOL), Lucien Agoume (INTER MILAN/ITA), Joel Matip (LIVERPOOL/ENG), Joss Aurel Nkongue Tiki (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA), Yaya Banana (OLYMPIACIOS/GRE), Eric Maxim Choupo Moting, Loic Mbe Soh (PARIS SG/FRA), Jerome Onguene (RB SALZBURG/AUT)

Cape Verde – 6

Tomas Tavares, Nuno Tavares, David Tavares (BENFICA/POR), Ruben Semedo (OLYMPIACOS/GRE), Bruno Varela (AJAX AMSTERDAM/HOL), Thierry Correia (VALENCIA/SPA)

Central African Republic – 2

Geoffrey Kondogbia (VALENCIA/SPA), Oumar Solet (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA)

Comoros – 1

El Fardou Ben Nabouhane (RED STAR BELGRADE/SER)

Cote D’Ivoire – 12

Dan Axel Zagadou (BORUSSIA DORTMUND/GER), Marc Guehi (CHELSEA/ENG), Odilon Kossounou, Simon Deli (CLUB BRUGGE, BLG), Jean Michael Seri (GALATASARAY/TUR), Jonathan Bamba (LILLE/FRA), Maxwell Cornet, Hermann Tebily, Yaya Soumare (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA), Tanguy Kouassi (PARIS SG/FRA), Ibrahim Traore (SLAVIA PRAGUE/CZE), Serge Aurier (TOTTENHAM/ENG)

DR Congo – 10

Lois Openda (CLUB BRUGGE/BLG), Christian Luyindama (GALATASARAY/TUR), Dieumerci Ndongala, Theo Bongonda, Bryan Limbombe (GENK/BLG), Heritier Deyonge, Modeste Mbenga, Pierre Kalulu (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA), Christopher Nkunku, Nordi Mukiele (RB LEIPZIG/GER)

Egypt – 1

Mohammed Salah (LIVERPOOL/ENG)

Gabon – 1

Mario Lemina (GALATASARAY/TUR)

Gambia – 1

Musa Barrow (ATALANTA/ITA)

Ghana – 7

Joseph Paintsil (GENK/BLG), Kwadwo Asamoah (INTER MILAN/ITA), Majeed Ashimeru (RB SALZBURG/AUT), Richmond Boakye (RED STAR BELGRADE/SER), Thomas Partey (ATLETICO MADRID/SPA), Yunus Musah (VALENCIA/SPA), Brian Brobbey (AJAX AMSTERDAM/HOL)

Guinea – 3

Naby Keita (LIVERPOOL/ENG), Mouctar Diakhaby (VALENCIA/SPA), Mady Camara (OLYMPIACOS/GRE)

Guinea Bissau – 4

Dayot Upamecano (RB LEIPZIG/GER), Tiago Djalo (LILLE/FRA), Ansu Fati (BARCELONA/SPA), Celton Bai (BENFICA/POR)

Kenya – 1

Victor Wanyama (TOTTENHAM/ENG)

Liberia – 1

Timothy Weah (LILLE/FRA)

Mali – 10

Moussa Diaby (BAYER LEVERKUSEN/GER), Adama Soumaoro (LILLE/FRA), Boubacar Fofana, Moussa Dembele, Youssouf Kone, Issiar Drame (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA), Amadou Haidara, Ibrahima Konate (RB LEIPZIG/GER), Mohamed Camara, Sekou Koita (RB SALZBURG/AUT)

Mauritania – 1

Kevin Malcuit (NAPOLI/ITA)

Morocco – 13

Hakim Ziyech, Noussair Mazraoui, Zakaria Labyad, Issam El Maach (AJAX AMSTERDAM/HOL), Adel Taarabt (BENFICA/POR), Achraf Hakimi (BORUSSIA DORTMUND/GER), Lois Openda (CLUB BRUGGE/BLG), Younes Belhanda (GALATASARAY/TUR), Ismael Saibari (GENK/BLG), Saad Agouzoul (LILLE/FRA), Kevin Malcuit (NAPOLI/ITA), Youssef El Arabi (OLYMPIACOS/GRE), Brahim Diaz (REAL MADRID/SPA)

Mozambique – 1

Reinildo Mandava (LILLE/FRA)

Nigeria – 14

Tyronne Ebuehi (BENFICA/POR), Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham (CHELSEA/ENG), David Okereke, Emmanuel Dennis (CLUB BRUGGE/BLG), Iyayi Atiemwen (DINAMO ZAGREB/CRO), Paul Onuachu, Shawn Adewoye, Stephen Odey (GENK/BLG), Victor Osimhen (LILLE/FRA), Bryan Idowu (LOKOMOTIV MOSCOW/RUS), Ademola Lookman (RB LEIPZIG/GER), Marvin Park (REAL MADRID/SPA), Peter Olayinka (SLAVIA PRAGUE/CZE)

Rwanda – 1

Pierre Kalulu (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA)

Sao Tome & Principe – 1

Gedson Fernandes (BENFICA/POR)

Senegal – 13

Moussa Wague (BARCELONA/SPA), Amadou Sagna, Krepin Diatta, Mbaye Diagne (CLUB BRUGGE/BLG), Boubakary Soumare (LILLE/FRA), Sadio Mane (LIVERPOOL/ENG), El Hadj Coly, Oussenyou Ndiaye (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA), Kalidou Koulibaly (NAPOLI/ITA), Ousseynou Ba, Pape Abou Cisse (OLYMPIACOS/GRE), Idrissa Gueye (PARIS SG/FRA), Francis Coquelin (VALENCIA/SPA)

South Africa – 1

Percy Tau (CLUB BRUGGE/BLG)

Tanzania – 1

Mbwana Samatta (GENK/BLG)

Togo – 3

Malik Talabidi (RB LEIPZIG/GER), Bradley Barcola, Malcolm Barcola (OLYMPIQUE LYONNAIS/FRA)

Tunisia – 1

Yassine Meriah (OLYMPIACOS/GRE)

Zambia – 2

Enock Mwepu, Patson Daka (RB SALZBURG/AUT)