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Africa to the World: Stars to watch this weekend in Europe’s top leagues

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It’s another weekend and another opportunity for African soccer stars to showcase their talents to the world as they take to the field for their various European clubsides.

In this edition of Africa to the World, we preview some continent star exports who are expected to feature for their respective clubs around Europe this weekend

In the English Premier League, Liverpool could go top of the league albeit for a few hours with their African contingent which include Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and to some extent, Joel Matip, when they take on Newcastle on Saturday.

Hours later, Manchester City with Riyad Mahrez could take over the top spot when they battle Leeds United in the tea-time fixture.

In Turkey, forgotten Nigerian striker, Anthony Nwakaeme of Trabzonspor has been silently painting the league red with goals and this weekend, he will lead his table-topping side against Antalyaspor and a win will secure them the title as they have an 11 points lead over second place Fenerbahce.

In the Serie A, AC Milan duo of Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie will seek to hold on to top spot in the league when they host Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon.

Let’s go…

Anthony Nwakaeme: Trabzonspor

Trabzonspor have been without a Super Lig title in over a generation but that wait could come to an end this weekend when they tackle Antalyaspor with Nwakaeme hoping to fire Trabs to the title.

Nwakaeme missed last week’s 3-1 win over Adana Demirspor due to a slight knock but the attacker id in line to return for gameweek 35’s clash with Antalyaspor.

A staggering 11 points separate the table-topping Black Sea Storm from second-place Fenerbahce, and maximum points on Saturday will guarantee Trabzonspor their first league title since 1984.

Ismaila Sarr: Watford

Watford may be battling a lost caused to remain in the EPL as their diminishing battle for survival takes them to Burnley this weekend where a victory in this relegation six-pointer will see them cut the gap to six points.

Senegal wing wizard cum attacker, Sarr may have ended his two-month run without a goal contribution a fortnight back he has been unable to prevent a four-game losing run for the Hornets.

Another defeat against the Clarets will more or less seal the side’s fate for relegation, but they will have to end a 10-game losing run at Vicarage Road to boost their prospects of avoiding the drop.

Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Joel Matip: Liverpool

The quartet of Salah, Mane, Matip and Keita could all feature for Liverpool when they travel to in-form Newcastle United in Saturday’s early fixture and a win will take them to the top of the standing as the battle for the title heads to the wire.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game with Sadio Mane during the UEFA Champions League, Quarter Final at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday April 10, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Man City. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Success for the Reds at St James’ Park will end the Magpies’ six-game winning run on home turf and send them top of the standings before Riyad Mahrez and his Manchester City teammates play Leeds United in the tea-time fixture.

Riyad Mahrez: Man City

It remains to be seen if the Algerian will feature from the off at Elland Road following his midweek miss against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League that had Pep Guardiola almost jumping out of his skin.

But the wide attacker could play in some capacity as the Citizens aim to hold off their challengers atop the standings.

Mohamed Elneny: Arsenal

The importance of the Egyptian Elneny for Arsenal in their push for European football in the last fortnight will once again, be on display as he deputises for injured African compatriot Thomas Partey once again.

Unless something drastic happens, the for midfielder is likely to continue in Mikel Arteta’s 11 for the Gunners’ trip to West Ham United on Sunday, looking to hold on to fourth spot in the league.

David Moyes’ line-up at Chelsea suggested the Hammers are putting all their eggs in the Europa League basket, so rotation is expected at the London Stadium.

Success for Elneny and his colleagues will see the North Londoners end another week in the Champions League positions.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Barcelona

Aubameyang’s run of two goals in his last seven in all competitions has coincided with Barcelona’s underwhelming run under Xavi with three losses in their last four games threatening to undermine their recent improvement.

If the former Arsenal captain gets a goal this weekend when Barca takes on Mallorca in gameweek 34 , that would be his 10th goal in La Liga since joining in January.

Having won the last eight fixtures between the sides, Xavi will hope his team return to winning ways in front of their fans having lost to Rayo Vallecano last week.

Ismael Bennacer, Franck Kessie; AC Milan

Inter Milan’s 2-1 defeat by Bologna on Wednesday means AC Milan are slight favourites to win Serie A with four games remaining.

The pair of Bennacer and Kessie could feature for Stefano Pioli’s men when they host Fiorentina at San Siro looking to consolidate their place.

Vincenzo Italiano’s team may have defeated Napoli in early April, but two losses on the trot leave them just outside the European slots, making them underdogs for the trip to Milan.

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Ghana coach, Otto Addo, resigns after World Cup ouster

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Black Stars of Ghana coach, Otto Addo, has resigned following the team’s World Cup group stage elimination after suffering a 2-0 loss to Uruguay on Friday.

The 47-year-old former international who was named as an interim replacement for sacked Milovan Rajevac in February, before he was given a permanently deal till the end of December, threw in the towel shortly after the team’s failure to progress to the round of 16 at tournament.

Addo who is the talent coach at German Bundesliga side, Borussia Dortmund, in a press conference where he announced his resignation, said:

“I always said if we qualified for the World Cup, I’d resign afterwards, even if we were world champions. My family see our future in Germany.”

Addo who was born in Hamburg, Germany, to Ghanaian parents, was a junior German international before he switched allegiance to the country of his parents.

A no-nonsense defensive midfielder during his playing days, Addo played for the Ghana national team for seven years commencing starting from 1999 his when he made his debut in a 5–0 routing of Eritrea on 28 February 1999.

He went on to play in the 2000 African Cup of Nations and in the 2006 FIFA World Cup where he started the game against the Czech Republic on 17 June 2006 at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, which Ghana won 2–0.

Ghana was Addo’s first managerial job after several roles at clubs in Germany and Denmark.

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Qatar 2022: Gallant Cameroon crash out of World Cup despite beating Brazil 1-0

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The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon created another football upset when they became the first African team to defeat Brazil at a World Cup tournament after beating the five-times world champions 1-0 in last Group G match at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on Friday.

However, the gallant Lions crashed out of the World Cup as the win was not enough to earn them a last 16 place after Switzerland defeated Serbia to finish second.

Rigobert Song’s men got a late winner through captain Vincent Aboubakar’s stoppage-time header to earn Cameroon a memorable late win over the Selecao, but the forward was then sent off for taking off his jersey while celebrating the goal.

Cameroon went into the game knowing they needed to beat Brazil to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockouts and they upheld their end of the bargain, but their efforts were thwarted with Switzerland’s win over Serbia which meant Cameroon finished third in the group as Brazil had already qualified as group winners before the crunch tie.

The South Americans held onto top spot in the group due to their superior goal difference over Switzerland, meaning they will face South Korea for a place in the quarter-finals on Monday evening.

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