So here we go again. The African Cup Of Nations kicks off this week to the delight of football fans everywhere and the chagrin of a small group of managers who lose key players for a few weeks.
Later this week we’ll asses which clubs are going to suffer the most during the month, but for now it is time to look back and salute some of the great Africans who played in the Premiership.
I have chosen 15 players who in one way or another all made their presence felt in the English league. Some, like Mido, only really shone for one season, others, like Lucas Radebe and Lauren had a huge impact over an extended period of time.
Anyhow here then are the 15. Tell us in the comments who we missed. And roll on South Africa v Cape Verde Islands.
Pics from Wikipedia
Before YaYa Toure there was another amazing African box to box midfielder in the Premiership - Michael Essien. It is easy to forget how influential the midfielder was, especially now as he is reduced to the odd cameo for his loan side Real Madrid. Essien, who was also eyed up by a number of Premiership teams, became a Chelsea player in summer 2005 and almost instantly became a staple in the side replacing arguably the best defensive midfielder of the day Claude Makelele. Tough in the tackle, yet graceful and decisive when moving forward Essien was a key member of the Chelsea team that went on to win the Premiership that year. His form was so consistent that nominations for the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Award and Ballon d'Or Award soon followed. Tragically Essien's career has been blighted by several injuries most notably during the 2010 African Nations Cup, a serious knock which kept him out for rest of the season. Since then Essien's form has dipped so that by summer 2012 he was deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea. Sad that a player who ought to be at the peak of his very considerable powers, now seems to be in permanent decline.