League of Africans

The official list of 25-player squads for the 2016/2017 English Premier League was recently released.

The list shows 46 African players in the Premier League this season, an increase of one player from last season. It is also about 9% of the 500 total players in the league.

All the clubs in the league feature at least one African player.

Senegal has eight players in the league, making it the largest with African players in the league. This is followed by Ivory Coast with six, Nigeria with five, Algeria four with Ghana featuring three.

Senegal has a fine balance of wingers, strikers and defenders as follows:

Idrissa Gana (Everton)

Oumar Niasse (Everton)

Pape Souare (Crystal Palace)

Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United)

Diafra Sakho (West Ham United)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City)

Papi Djilobodji (Sunderland)

Out of all the African players in the league, there’s no single goalkeeper among them.

Sunderland and Premier League champions Leicester City feature the highest African players with five each. Behind them are West Ham United, Everton and Watford with four players each. Crystal Palace also had 5 African players last year but now down to 3.

Sunderland in the past featured some of Africa’s greatest footballers such as Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) Patrick Mboma and John Mensah (Cameroon), Talal El Karkouri (Morocco) and Benjani Mwaruwari (Zimbabwe).

Equatorial Guinea and Libya have their first Premier League players this season: Emilio Nsue (Middlesbrough) and Sadik El Fitouri (Manchester United).

Among the African players, Ivory Coast Defender Eric Bailly who joined the Premier League this season rank as one of the highest earners. His transfer fee of $40m) placed him among the most expensive defenders.