Towards the end of each year, football fans gather and vote for the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) best player of the year. The list of candidates is taken from the best performers from all leagues worldwide.
Since 2011, the winners for the award have been dominated by players from the English Premier League, except for 2015 when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who then played for Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, won it. He is now an EPL player and former captain of Arsenal, so by default, we can say it has been an EPL lockout.
You would not bet on premier league matches having more players on that list for this year’s award too. Seeing as the EPL has been so dominant, let us look at the African players making waves in the EPL.
Keeping in mind that it takes more than just a striker to win games, we have tried to add a mixed batch of talent in different positions.
If you are one for betting, check out this list below and place a bet on EPL at 10Bet afterwards.
What Makes Them Shine?
When looking at the best player on a football team, the common rhetoric is that it has to be a striker because strikers score most of the goals, as this is their role on the pitch. The contribution of their teammates is usually overshadowed by what the striker has done or, more importantly, what he is failing to do.
Taking a look at the Ballon D’or, you will notice that no goalkeeper has won it since its conception, and yet many league winning seasons have come as a result of some solid work between the posts and supported by defenders too.
Chelsea’s Petr Cech recorded 25 clean sheets in the 2005/2006 title-winning season in which the club conceded only 15 goals. Jose Mourinho has proved countless times with his teams that an impregnable defence and one goal can win you a game.
It’s difficult to start any conversation about the best African player in the EPL or, better yet, the best player in the world without throwing the Egyptian’s name in. Having won his first EPL title and helping Liverpool end their EPL title drought in the 2019/2020 season, Salah’s form has been nothing but impressive.
He has started all of Liverpool’s games this season and has managed to find the net 14 times already. Salah is also part of the illustrious 100 club as he now has 111 goals in 174 appearances in the EPL. And there is still a lot more to come from him.
In September 2021, Senegal’s Sadio Mane became the third African player to score 100 goals in the EPL. He achieved this feat without scoring from the penalty spot and became only the third player to do this.
His goal-scoring prowess aided Liverpool’s 2019/2020 league winning season and gained the Reds Champions League victory in the previous season. Mane also won the CAF player of the year award in 2019.
This season, Mane has netted seven goals in 16 games in the EPL.
The 2017/2018 season saw the Nigerian midfielder produce one of his finest seasons and was arguably the best tackler in the EPL. Since then, he has become a regular in the heart of Leicester City’s midfield.
At 24 years, he is at the prime of his career, and many believe there is a lot more still to come from him. He is a natural ball winner, and by May 2021, no other midfielder made more interceptions than he did per 90 minutes.
His interception rate per 90 minutes was 2.58, and the next best midfielder is Chelsea’s N’golo Kante, who had an inception rate of 2.48.
If anything is to go by, Leicester will depend on Ndidi’s high pressing stats, which he continues to produce game after game in their chase for more success.
The Zimbabwean midfielder has caused quite the stir at Aston Villa, having been voted player of the month for November. In his third season at Villa Park, Nakamba has seemed to find his feet again under new boss Steven Gerrard who has played the midfielder every minute since he started his tenure.
Nakamba has refound his form and has been putting in some stellar performances and most notably is his man of the match award he received after the 2-1 victory away to Crystal Palace.
The midfielder has managed a 56% tackle rate in his three seasons so far, and we can only wait to see how much more he has to offer.
The Watford striker is playing with some renewed vigour under new boss Claudio Ranieri. The Nigerian has now scored four goals and assisted five times in the eight matches Ranieri has been in charge.
Before, under former boss Xisco Munoz, Dennis had only managed two goals and an assist in the season’s first seven games.
Dennis’s creativity on the field has also improved as Ranieri knows how to get the best from his striker.