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 46 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.
Every club in the league has an African player
Senegal has the largest contingent of players in the league, with eight, followed by Ivory Coast with six, Nigeria with five, Algeria four while Ghana has three.
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)
All they need is a goalkeeper.
Strangely, there is no African goalkeeper among the 45 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.
Leicester 5 – Sunderland 5
Premier League champions Leicester City and Sunderland have the highest African representation with five players each.
Everton, Watford and West Ham United follow closely with four players each: https://www.premierleague.com/news/84136
Sunderland has 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.
Last year Crystal Palace had the highest number of African players, with five in total but it has since gone down to three.
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.
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.