Feature: Andre Ayew, Kevin Boateng & Essien Named In African XI

Historically, Africa always had great players; Abedi Pele, Roger Milla and George Weah are just some examples of their tradition. Alongside the players, Africa has some good national teams as well, such as Ghana and Ivory Coast. Nowadays, there are some great footballers from Africa. Some of them are shining in Europe and helping their national teams to achieve further recognition. Among these players, it is difficult to select only 11, but this is my ideal formation for a team with only Africans that are still on the pitch. Goalkeeper: Vincent Enyeama Enyeama is a Nigerian goalkeeper, who is more famous for his international career. He plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel, but could easily be part of a stronger club. For the national squad, he has participated in 84 matches. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Enyeama won the award of Man of the Match against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Even Maradona hailed the goalkeeper’s performance. In 2013, he helped Nigeria in the African Nations Cup title, and was considered the best goalkeeper in the competition. In my opinion, he is way better than other goalkeepers from the continent. Right Back: Emmanuel Eboué It’s not easy to stay in Premier League for six years, but Eboué managed 214 appearances for Arsenal, and was an important member of Wenger’s squad during his presence there. He usually plays as right-back, and is now at Galatasaray, alongside Drogba, after Wenger stated that he wouldn’t have first-team opportunities. Eboue’s strongest attributes are his speed, dribbling and shooting. He is proving in Turkey that he can still be very useful, for both club and country. Centre Back: Kolo Touré Kolo Touré is the easiest choice in the defensive line-up; the 32 year-old Ivorian player passed the last 11 years playing in Premier League. He made history in his seven years playing for Arsenal, winning a Premier League and losing a Champions League final against Barcelona in 2006. Later he moved to Manchester City, but didn’t make a great impact. Now, he is at Liverpool, and is trying to be the “old Kolo” from his Arsenal days. Toure in an intelligent defender, good marker and will even contribute with the odd goal. Centre Back: Alex Song Some might say that Alex Song should be in the midfield in this team. Although Song is a midfielder, he can also play as centre back. His aerial ability, strength and speed make him a good marker that can be used as an effective option in defence. Barcelona signed the Cameroonian footballer in 2012 for a fee of £15million. He suffered with strong competition in his first season, but with the lack of defenders in Barcelona squad, Song would fit perfectly in the team if Tata Martino decides to place him alongside Gerard Pique. Left Back: Benôit Assou-Ekotto Ekotto is a fine left back and has made 195 appearances for Tottenham, scoring four goals. Since 2010, Ekotto is a first-team regular at White Hart Lane. He has good tackling and crossing and really excels in making controversial statements. He usually speaks things that comes to his mind, like the fact that football is just a job for him. The weakest position in the team. Centre Midfielder: Yaya Touré Yaya Toure is the best African footballer at the moment. He is a modern player; fast, creative, great shooter and good marker. Toure made history at Barcelona, playing in Pep Guardiola’s team that was considered one of the best of all time. In 2010, he joined the Citizens and showed all his potential playing in a more offensive role, scoring 29 goals since his arrival. The classic box-to-box player is 30 years-old, but still has some great years ahead of him. Centre Midfielder: Michael Essien If you have played more then 240 matches for Chelsea, 90 games for Lyon and almost 40 appearances for Real Madrid, you are a special player. This is Michael Essien. The Ghanaian is another box-to-box player, and is well known for his physical presence and tackling. Unfortunately, Essien’s career was marked with several injuries. This was the reason why Essien lost space in Chelsea and missed 2010 FIFA World Cup. He is now trying to recover the time lost, but is facing strong competition at Chelsea but he can still be useful for the Blue, despite also being 30. Centre Midfielder: Kevin-Prince Boateng Another Ghanaian in the team. Prince Boateng started in Germany, playing for Herta BSC. After three years, in 2007, he moved to Tottenham but didn’t make a huge impact. He only showed all his potential and ability in 2010, when he arrived at AC Milan. Nowadays, Boateng is a vital part of the team, and one of the best players in Serie A. One of Boateng’s biggest fans, Jurgen Klopp, said that “Boateng is dominant in a hundred of ways on how to take and receive a ball, and he has dozens of options to overtake an opponent with his skills”. This is the perfect definition of the player. He is only 26 and can expect great things in the future, even a transfer to a stronger league Attacking Midfielder: André Ayew André Ayew is the youngest player in the list. At only 23, the Ghana international has already 43 appearances for the national team. He is the son of a legend, Abedi Pele, and his father was one of the reasons why he decided to play for Ghana instead of France. Ayew plays for Olympique Marseille, and has a release clause of 18 million euros. The creative player is unique and has amazing dribbling skills. The reason why I decided to put Ayew in the team is his speed, technique and capacity to change the game. Striker: Samuel Eto’o One of Africa’s best strikers ever. Eto’o is the only player that have won four African Player of the Year awards, and three UEFA Champions League winners medals. Samuel has scored more than 320 goals in his career, and shined at both Barcelona and Inter Milan. Eto’o is considered to be the highest paid footballer in the world. He is currently playing for Anzhi Makhachkala, but the Cameroonian has been heavily linked with Chelsea in the last weeks, due to his friendship with manager José Mourinho. Although Eto’o is 32, he is better than Torres and Demba Ba. Therefore, Samuel would be a great signing for Chelsea. Striker: Didier Drogba Do I really need to explain why Didier Drogba is in this list? Drogba is a living legend, on and off the field. He has scored more than 300 goals in his career, and was the most important player during Chelsea’s victorious Champions League campaign in 2012. In addition to that, he has won three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups. Unquestionably, the Ivorian is a one of a kind player, but his personal life is even more impressed. Drogba helped his country during the Civil War, pleading for peace and cease fire. With Drogba’s intervention, Ivory Coast had some moments of peace. Alongside this, Drogba also pays for hospitals in his hometown. Noteworthy players: Sulley Ali Muntari, Seydou Keita, Tiote, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Asamoah Gyan.