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New African EPL signings to watch this season

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As the 2022/2023 English Premier League returns this weekend, fans of the club sides will be looking forward to see what the new faces in their teams will have to offer.

All the clubs used the off season to transact some transfer businesses by either bringing in new players or offloading those they deem surplus to requirements as they position to battle for the EPL title.

In the mix were a couple of African players who made the move to the league dubbed the most exciting in the world and as the season kicks off on Friday with Arsenal taking on London rivals, Crystal Palace, fans of the EPL on the continent would be looking forward to seeing what their stars would offer.

Afrocanewswatch brings you the African players who made the switch to the EPL.

Kalidou Koulibaly – Chelsea

The arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli is about the biggest African signing this season and with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving Chelsea, the giant Senegalese defender is expected to fill the void in the heart of the Blue’s defence.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winner will team up with international teammate, Edouard Mendy and together, they hope to form a formidable backline for the Pensioners.

Taiwo Awoniyi – Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest must have played on a gamble when they forked out a club record £18.5 million on Nigerian striker, Taiwo Awoniyi to snap him from Union Berlin of Germany.

Awoniyi who was previously on the books of Liverpool was not given any chance to prove his worth as he was sent out on loan on more than four occasions until he left on a free transfer last summer and got the much deserved chance in Germany.

The big striker is now back in the EPL and much is expected of him as will lead the Forest attack in the new season.

After enjoyed a stellar season in the Bundesliga with 15 goals to show, Awoniyi should do enough to help the newly promoted Forest maintain its EPL status.

Joe Aribo – Southampton

Nigerian midfield maestro, Joe Aribo took many by surprise when he left Rangers of Scotland to Southampton.

However, football pundits see the move as an upgrade with the belief that he will develop better in the English Premier League.

Aribo also showed what he should be expected of him with a textbook wonder goal against Villarreal in a pre-season friendly game which has made watchers of the league sit up and take notice.

Aribo is no doubt a highly talented and technical player who will no doubt, add quality to the Southampton squad especially in the middle of the pack.

His eye for goal could make him one of the most effective midfielders outside the top six in the league this season.

Nayef Aguerd – West Ham

Moroccan international Nayef Aguerd’s £30 million move from Stade Rennais in the French Ligue 1 to West Ham underscores his rising profile as one of the continent’s finest defenders.

Though his start to life in the EPL will be delayed by an ankle injury he picked up in a pre-season friendly against Rangers of Scotland, but his return would add steel to the team hoping to battle the big boys for title.

Having proven himself in the Ligue 1 as one of the best center backs with his prowess in the air and bravery in going into tackles, Aguerd could be one of the best African signings in the the new season.

Boubacar Kamara – Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa pulled off a major coup when signing Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer from Olympique de Marseille with the aim of turning the club into a Champions League team.

The midfield grafter is one of the most talented players on the continent and will definitely add a different dimension to the Villa midfield.

Speaking about the player, Gerrard said:

“Kamara’s going to give us style, he’s going to give us a passing range that I didn’t feel we had.”

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Nigeria’s Taiwo Awoniyi makes history as he scores Nottingham Forest’s first EPL goal in 23 years

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles striker, Taiwo Awoniyi has entered into the history books of Nottingham Forest as he netted The Reds first Premier League goal after 23 years as the EPL new boys pipped West Ham 1-0 on Sunday.

Awoniyi was up and running in his second game of the season and scored the only goal in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over West Ham at City ground.

This was Awoniyi’s first full start for the Tricky Trees after coming on as a second-half sub in the 2-0 loss to Newcastle in the first match of season.

The Nigeria international’s first-half goal separated both teams in the keenly contested match which saw Dean Henderson save and a disallowed West Ham goal, saw him become the 37th Nigerian to score in the EPL.

The former Union Berlin forward was handed the starting shirt alongside Jesse Lingard and Brennan Johnson in a three-man attack and came close to opening his account in the early minutes but his header from Neco Williams’ cross sailed over Lukasz Fabianski’s crossbar.

Just before the break, Awoniyi struck albeit in a scrappy manner as the ball hit his knee and flew past Fabiansky to settle in the back of the net.

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Ballon d’Or: Do African nominees, Mane, Salah, Mahrez, Haller, Oshoala stand any chance?

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It is pleasant news that five African players have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or award with Egypt and Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, topping the list.

Other African stars, Sadio Mane of Senegal, Algerian Riyad Mahrez, Ivory Coast striker, Sebastien Haller and Nigerian Super Falcons and Barcelona striker, Asisat Oshoala, also made the shortlist released on Friday.

So far, former Liberian captain, George Weah, is the only African to have won the Ballon d’Or award which he picked up in 1995 while playing for AC Milan.

With the five African stars nominated to battle the likes of France and Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema, and his national team mate, Killian Mbape of PSG, it is left to be seen if the continent stars stand any chance of following in Weah’s footsteps.

Here, Africanewswatch takes a look at the five and their chances of picking the prestigious award.

Mohamed Salah

This is the fourth time the Egyptian forward will be getting a Ballon d’Or nomination with his best finish being fifth position in 2019. In 2018, he was sixth in 2018, and seventh in 2021.

This could be Salah’s best chance of winning the award after scooping the Premier League PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award last seasonThe Liverpool striker scored 31 goals in all competitions (23 in the league) and 15 assists for Liverpool to win the Premier League Golden Boot Award as the Reds won the FA and Carabao Cups and reached the Champions League final.

Mohamed Salah with his PFA award (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah with his PFA award (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The only setback to an otherwise fantastic season was Egypt losing the 2021 Afcon to a Sadio Mané inspired Senagal in Cameroon as well as missing the 2022 World Cup.

Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané’s status as the reigning African Player of the Year should propel him to give the award a big shout following his brilliant form for club and country.

The Senegal and Bayern Munich strike star netted 23 goals for Liverpool in the EPL, won the FA and Carabao Cups, reached the final of the Champions League, led Senegal to her first Afcon trophy before ending with the African Player of the Year.

African player of the year,  Sadio Mane (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

African player of the year, Sadio Mane (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

To add to a spectacular year, Mane was instrumental to qualifying Senegal for the Qatar World Cup at the expense of Egypt.

Three years ago, Mane was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or where he finished fourth behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.

Riyad Mahrez

Algerian captain and Manchester City winger, Riyad Mahrez is another African star who has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or after a fantastic season for the EPL Champions where he scored 24 goals and notched up nine assists as Pep Guardiola’s men romped to the Premier League title.

He also scored crucial goals as Man City reached the semi finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Riyad Mahrez is also in with a shout (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Riyad Mahrez is also in with a shout (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

He could, however, not replicate his fine club form for Algeria following a dismal outing at the Afcon in Cameroon as they were eliminated in the group stage.

Mahrez has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or three times before now.

Sebastien Haller

From every indication, Sebastien Haller of Ivory Coast is an outsider when it comes to winning the Ballon d’Or even with his impressive outing for Ajax last season.

He was the Dutch club’s highest goal scorer with 34 goals and seven assists in all competitions and won the Eredivisie Golden Boot Award after scoring 21 league goals.

Sebastien Haller may just be making up the number (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sebastien Haller may just be making up the number (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

But the newly signed Borussia Dortmund forward did not have a great run for the national team as the Ivorians were knocked out of the Afcon by Egypt in the round of 16.

Asisat Oshoala

Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Barcelona forward, Asisat Oshoala is the only African female player nominated in the women’s category, following a fantastic season with the Spanish team where she scored 20 goals and took home the women Pichichi award.

Oshoala was a strong force in the Barca attack as they won the league, Super Cup and Copa de la Reina titles.

She also won the female version of the African Player of the Year for the fifth time, the first by any player in the continent.

Asisat Oshoala is the first African woman to be nominated for the  Ballon d'Or (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Asisat Oshoala is the first African woman to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

However, her chances of winning the Ballon d’Or got slimmer after the Super Falcons failed to retain their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations crown in Morocco where she played only one match after suffering an injury in their tournament’s first match.

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