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The Good and The Bad: How African stars performed in Europe last weekend

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Over the weekend, African soccer stars took to the field for their respective European clubs in different leagues and competitions.

Some churned out impressive displays while others had outings they would rather forget.

A handful of the players made crucial contributions for their clubs while others found themselves on the losing side.

We bring a review of the African players who were too good for their European teams as well as the ones who were not so good.

Too Good

Mohamed Elneny: Arsenal

The Egyptian midfielder once again showed his importance for Arsenal with an assist in the Gunners 3-1 thumping of Manchester United at the Emirates.

After a man of the match display at Stamford Bridge a week earlier, Elneny was instrumental to Arsenal overall outing with a sterling performance in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka.

He also provided the assist for the third goal scored by Xhaka in the 70th minute, a which has once again propelled Arsenal into the top four in the EPL with a Champions League qualification looking likely after their direct rivals, Tottenham Hotspur dropped points against Brentford.

Mohammed Kudus: Ajax

Ghanaian star Kudus was also good for Dutch Eredivisie runaway leaders Ajax as he provided the assist in the 88th minute in his club’s 1-0 defeat of NEC in the game played on Saturday.

His fellow African in the team, Sebastien Haller of Ivory Coast played the whole duration of the game but had little impact.

Karl Toko Ekambi, Alexander Djiku: Lyon

The Cameroonian players make tje good list as they conteibuted positively to Lyon’s 5-2 defeat of Montpellier in the French Ligue 1.

Ekambi scored one goal and provided an assist, netting as Lyon’s third goal in the 68th minute before providing the assist for captain Houssem Aouar’s goal in the second minute of added time.

Moses Simon: Nantes

Simon who was unarguably Nigeria’s best player as the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, picked up from where he stopped as he helped his modest French club Nantes came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to claim a 5-3 win over Bordeaux.

The Nigerian claimed an assist to draw his club level at 3-3, before claiming his side’s fourth goal as his teasing cross forced Bordeaux defender Ricardo Mangas to turn the ball into his own net.

Edoaurd Mendy and Hakim Ziyech: Chelsea

Senegalese shot stopper, Edoaurd Mendy and retired Moroccan Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech were instrumental to Chelsea not losing a third straight match at the Stamford Bridge.

Mendy was at his best as he stopped West Ham’s relentless onslaught as the Blue ran out 1-0 winners while Ziyech who replaced Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the 76th minute played a key part in the only goal scored by Christian Pulisic in added time.

Too Bad

Alex Iwobi: Everton

Everton Super Eagles midfielder Iwobi was too bad for Everton against Liverpool that fans of the club took to social media to question if he is really the nephew of former Eagles and Bolton Wanderers midfield magician, Austin ‘Jay-Jay” Okocha.

Iwobi was preferred on the left side of midfield by Frank Lampard but he contributed next to nothing as Everton slumped its 11 loss in their last 12 Premier League away games, including each of the last seven in a row, making it their longest run of consecutive away defeats since a run of eight between April and October 1994.

The Toffees ended the day in the relegation zone for the first time since 6th December 2019.

Mohamed Salisu: Southampton

The Ghanaian defender had a mixed bag of game as he scored an own goal as Southampton 2-2 draw against Brighton to share the points.

Salisu’s own goal gave Brighton a two-goal advantage before Southampton recovered and scored twice through James Ward-Prowse.

Emmanuel Dennis, Hassan Kamara: Watford

Nigeria’s Dennis and Ivory Coast’s Kamara combined for Watford’s 28th-minute goal in against Manchester City but it was not enough to save them from a 5-1 thumping at the Etihad Stadium.

Dennis has now been directly involved in 52% of Watford’s 31 Premier League goals this season, scoring 10 goals with six assists to his name.

Victor Osimhen: Napoli

Osimhen played the full 90 minutes as Napoli’s Serie A title hopes went up in smoke as they lost 3-2 to 14th-placed Empoli, after leading 2-0 at a point.

The lanky forward failed to find the back of the net yet again, though he had his six shots, the poorest return for the striker whose previous worst performance this season came at home games against Hellas Verona in November.

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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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