As we wrap up the decade, its time to build the African XI of the decade, this team will consider the following factors, length of time at the top, accomplishments, both for their national team and clubs, as well individual brilliance.
Drogba: At “The Drog’s” best, he was unplayable, although majority of his accomplishments took place last decade, what he was able to achieve with Chelsea in 2011 was unbelievable, in what was his last game at the club Drogba dragged Chelsea to champions league glory, what they had been searching for ever since Mourinho joined in 2005. Drogba put in a bullet header from a set-piece to equalise in the 88th minute, before converting the winning penalty with what was supposed to be his last kick of the ball for Chelsea.
Salah: “The Egyptian King” took the world by storm when he made the transfer from AS Roma before the 17/18 season. Salah made an immediate impact scoring against Arsenal on his debut and has just gone from height to height ever since. That year, he went on to win the Premier League golden boot with 32 goals, a Premier League record, he also led Liverpool to the Champions League final but his final was cut short in the first half after an incident with Sergio Ramos, Liverpool went on the lose the match. However, a year after Salah was back at the Champions League final, this time leaving with a winners medal after beating Tottenham 2-0 thanks to a penalty by the man himself and a late goal by Divock Origi to seal it.
The Senegalese Speedster is arguably the best player in the Premier League at this very moment. He was the first big signing in the Klopp era at Liverpool and won the Liverpool player of the season the year before Salah arrived. Along with Salah and Firmino, Liverpool now have the best front 3 in European football. Sadio Mane is currently the holder of the golden boot, an honour he shared with fellow African’s Mo Salah and Aubameyang. After winning the Champions League last season, Sadio has his eyes on helping Liverpool win their first league title in 30 years and their first-ever Premier League title.
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At Yaya Toure’s peak, he was often compared to a train because of the way he would burst through midfield, shrugging full-grown men off like they were kids. Yaya will be most fondly remembered for his breathtaking 2013-14 season where he won the Premier League chipping in with 20 league goals from CM including some of the best freekicks and long-range efforts the league has ever seen. Yaya also captained the Ivory Coast to winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 . Yaya Toure has proved he was an elite player at defensive midfield, central midfield and also as an attacking midfielder. Not many midfielders can say that
John Obi Mikel
The Nigerian midfield general who started out as a number 10 in those Olympic games we all remember. Enjoyed a great decade at Chelsea after gathering interest from the biggest sides in England. During this decade Mikel won, 2 Premier Leagues, 4 FA cups, 1 League cup, 1 Champions League and also captained Nigeria to winning the Africa Cup of Nations
The Ghanian was a coach’s dream for his ability to play multiple positions, during his time at Italian giants, Juventus he was deployed as a Left Midfielder, Left-back and as a Central Midfielder. He enjoyed a very successful 7-year spell at Juve winning 6 Serie A titles and 4 Coppa Italia titles
Captain of the Senegalese national team, Kalidou Koulibaly is without a doubt one of the best central defenders in all of Europe. A huge, aggressive, quick, and physically strong yet elegant player, Koulibaly is recognised for his aerial prowess, anticipation, positioning, tackling, character, technique, and passing ability as a defender. He is the complete central defender. Koulibaly has regular fixture in the Serie A team of the year and if there’s one thing Italian’s know about football, its the art of defending. At 28 years old which is relatively young for a centre back, we expect Koulibaly to dominate attackers some more in the new decade
Mehdi Benatia has played for some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs including Bayern Munchen and Juventus, The former Moroccan captain won 2 League titles at Bayern Munchen and went on to win a further 2 at Juventus where he made the team of the season.
Essam El Hadary
The Egyptian number 1 represented his country for 22 years, TWENTY TWO YEARS! with whom he won eight Egyptian Premier League titles, four Egypt Cups, four Egyptian Super Cups, four CAF Champions League titles, three CAF Super Cups, one Arab Club Champions Cup, and two Arab Super Cups. In 2018 he became the oldest player to appear at a World Cup, doing so at 45 after 159 caps for Egypt
In the last half-decade, you could make the claim that Mahrez has been the most successful player. The Algerian Magician took England by storm and with his PFA award-worthy performances, he led Leicester City to what was the most surprising Premier League win in history and possibly will be of all time. Mahrez then made the move to Manchester City where last year he won the historic quadruple, winning all domestic trophies up for grabs in England and also captained Algeria to winning the Africa cup of nations, scoring a stunning freekick in the final.
The Gabonese hitman has been one of the most lethal forwards in Europe since arriving at Dortmund in the 2013-14 season, it’s been a goal show. Auba netted 141 goals in 213 games for Dortmund, becoming the perfect replacement for Robert Lewandowski who made the switch from BVB to Bayern Munchen. His goals helped Dortmund to win DFB Pokal in the 2016-17 season in which he also won the golden boot. He made the switch to North London in January 2018 and the goals have continued to flood in, he’s scored 53 goals in 83 games so far for the Gunners and won the golden boot in the 2018-19 season.
By Mosope Afolabi