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



African soccer stars strutted their stuff last weekend for their respective European club sides in different leagues and competitions and as usual, some of them were quite good while some put up abysmal performances they would want to forget in a hurry.

We bring you a review of how African stars performed for their European clubs in the past weekend.

Too Good

Victor Osimhen, Kalidou Koulibaly: Napoli

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen was in the form of his life as he grabbed a goal for himself as Napoli bounced back from a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Empoli to thrash Sassuolo 6-1 in a Serie A fixture at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Saturday.

While Osimhen was running rings in the front, Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly was a calm orchestrator at the back.

Koulibaly was also among the goals as he bombed forward to grab the first goal before the Nigerian star got the second while Hirving Lozano, Dries Mertens (2) and Amir Rrahmani also helped themselves with their goals.

Osimhen is currently the joint seventh highest goal scorer in the Serie A with a tally of 13 goals so far, and is also the team’s top league scorer.

Fashion Sakala: Rangers

Zambia international striker, Sakala, was on the scoresheet as Rangers managed a 1-1 draw against Celtic in the Scottish Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on Sunday, a result that put on hold their title aspiration for a while, in the very least.

After the Bhoys, as Celtic are called, took the lead courtesy of Jota, the 25-year-old Chipolopolo star popped up with a goal for the Gers in the 67th minute, beating goalkeeper Joe Hart with a powerful left-footed effort.

His African teammates, Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun also played their parts in the game but it was Sakala, who joined Rangers from KV Oostende, who stood out by notching his eighth goal from 28 appearances in the Scottish Premiership.

Naby Keita: Liverpool

Out of the quartet of African players in the Liverpool squad, Guinea international Keita stood out as he was the hero on the night as his wonder goal enabled the title-chasing Reds to secure a vital win against Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday, to put pressure on Manchester City.

With Jurgen Klopp resting Egypt international Mohamed Salah before he came on in the second period, it was the 27-year-old Keita who scored the decisive goal in the 19th minute.

Keita has managed 18 appearances overall and accumulated 915 minutes of playing time for the Reds in the league this season.

He has started only 11 times across Liverpool’s 33 fixtures, coming on as a sub on seven occasions, scoring three goals and one assist in the process.

Wilfried Zaha: Crystal Palace

Ivory Coast international winger, Zaha, came off the bench to score in stoppage time to help Crystal Palace secure a 2-1 Premier League win against Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Zaha replaced Jean-Philippe Mateta in the 64th minute with scores tied at 1-1 and became the hero for the Eagles as he scored in added time and helped them bounce back to winning ways.

Apart from the goal, Zaha also reached another milestone as he became the third most-capped African in Premier League history after earning his 274th Palace cap against the Saints in the English top-flight, moving him ahead of Arsenal and Nigeria great Nwankwo Kanu.

Yves Bissouma: Brighton

The Mali international was on target as Brighton and Hove Albion defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the Premier League at Molineux on Saturday.

The Seagulls were the better side in the game and took the lead through Alexis Mac Allister, who converted from the penalty spot before Leandro Trossard grabbed the second and Bissouma sealed the game with the third.

It was the Bissouma’s first goal for Brighton this season from 23 appearances but the goal proved to be important for the team as they continue to prove their mettle in the Premier League.

Mohammed Elneny: Arsenal

Once again, Egyptian midfielder Mohammed Elneny’s experience was on display as Arsenal won its third game on the trot with a 2-1 win over West Ham in a London derby.

The win propelled the Gunners back into the fourth position in the battle to secure European football next season, replacing Tottenham Hotspur who had snuck into the position earlier in the day.

Elneny, like he has done in the last two wins for Arsenal against Chelsea and Man United, was pivotal to the team maintaining a High balance in the middle and was a calming influence when those around him seemed to lose their heads.

Too Bad:

Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech: Chelsea

The Senegal international goalkeeper Mendy was on the too bad end after he conceded yet again courtesy of a clinical finish from Richarlison as Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Going into the fixture, Mendy had also failed to keep a clean sheet for the Blues as they battled to a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford last Thursday.

So far in this campaign, the Lion of Teranga AFCON winning keeper has kept only 13 clean sheets, as against last season where he had 16 clean sheets from 31 games.

Retired Moroccan international, Ziyech came on in the second half but even he could not do anything to help Chelsea pick a point.

Emmanuel Dennis, Ismaila Sarr: Watford

The duo of Nigeria international Emmanuel Dennis and Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr failed to inspire Watford to a win as they suffered a 2-1 defeat against Burnley at Vicarage Road on Saturday, and further sealing their ticket to the Championship from the top flight.

The two African players were handed starting roles in the relegation battle and despite taking an early lead courtesy of James Tarkowski’s own goal, they could not hold on as the Clarets scored two goals late in the second period to emerge winners.

Kelechi Iheanacho: Leicester City

The Nigeria international was on target as Leicester City suffered a 3-1 Premier League defeat against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Iheanacho who was in action from start to finish alongside Ghana’s Daniel Amartey and Senegal international Nampalys Mendy, has netted three top-flight goals this campaign from 24 appearances, which is quite a poor return for a striker of his quality.

Samuel Chukwueze: Villarreal

The 22-year-old Super Eagle star was on target as Villarreal lost 2-1 away to Alaves in a La Liga fixture at Mendizorroza in Vitoria-Gasteiz on Saturday.

It was the home team who took an early lead courtesy of Victor Laguardia before they went 2-0 up through Gonzalo Escalante.

Samuel Chukwueze celebrating his goal against Bayern Munich

Samuel Chukwueze 

However, Chukwueze pulled a goal back for the Yellow Submarine at the start of the second half but it was not enough to hand them something from the game.

The attacker has netted three top-flight goals this season from 23 appearances after opening his account against Barcelona on November 27, scoring during a 3-1 defeat.


Ghana coach, Otto Addo, resigns after World Cup ouster



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



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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