Seven things about the Premier League Africans
The English Premier League has released the official list of 25-player squads for the 2016/17 season. The BBC’s Stanley Kwenda looks at seven things about the African players in the Premier League.
Nine per cent
There are 47 African players plying their trade in the Premier League this season – that’s an increase of one from last season.
This is around 9% of the total of 500 players.
Senegal has the largest contingent of players in the league, with eight, followed by Ivory Coast with six and Nigeria five.
The country can almost make its own Premier League team. It has a fine balance of wingers, strikers and defenders:
Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United)
Diafra Sakho (West Ham United)
Pape Souare (Crystal Palace)
Idrissa Gana (Everton)
Oumar Niasse (Everton)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City)
Papi Djilobodji (Sunderland)
Strangely, there is no African goalkeeper among the 47 African players in the Premier League. Well, unless you want to count Steve Mandanda, the DR Congo-born Crystal Palace goalkeeper who plays his international football with France.
Sunderland have the most Africans players with six, after free agent Nigeria’s Victor Anichebe signed two days after the transfer window had closed:
Papy Djilobodji (Senegal)
Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia)
Lamine Kone (Ivory Coast)
Didier Ndong (Gabon)
Steven Pienaar (South Africa)
Victor Anichebe (Nigeria)
Sunderland have a rich African history. It has been home to some of Africa’s greatest footballers such as Cameroon’s Patrick Mboma, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah, Zimbabwe’s Benjani Mwaruwari and Morocco Talal El Karkouri.
Champions Leicester City have five, while Everton, Watford and West Ham United follow closely with four players each.
Last year Crystal Palace had the highest number of African players, with five, but there are only three playing for the south London club this season.
Equatorial Guinea and Libya have their first Premier League players this season in the form of Middlesbrough defender Emilio Nsue and Manchester United’s Sadik El Fitouri, respectively.
None in Burnley
Burnley is the only Premier League club without an African player.
Tendayi Darikwa was born in England but says he would play for Zimbabwe, where his father comes from, if requested. But he has not yet been called up.
Ivory Coast Defender Eric Bailly is one of the highest profile African players to join the Premier League this season. His £30m ($40m) transfer fee ranks him among the most expensive defenders.