A Guide to the 47 Africans in English Premier League

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Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane signed for Liverpool for £34m ($45m), becoming Africa’s most expensive player

The English Premier League has released the official list of 25-player squads for the 2016/17 season. The BBC’s Stanley Kwenda looks at eight things about the African players in the Premier League.

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Nine per cent

There are 45 African players plying their trade in the Premier League this season – the number remains unchanged from last season.

This is 9% of the total of 500 players.

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None in Southampton

Only one team (Southampton) has no African players in its ranks following the departure of Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane for Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool respectively.

Victor Wanyama
Kenya’s Victor Wanyama left Southampton for Spurs

Mane, who is currently on international duty for Senegal, has said  that he does not feel any pressure being Africa’s most expensive footballer.

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Team Senegal

Senegal has the largest contingent of players in the league, with nine, followed by Nigeria with 7 and Ivory Coast five players, Algeria has four while Ghana has three.

Cheikhou Kouyate
Senegal’s captain Cheikhou Kouyate plays for West Ham

The country can almost make its own premier league team. It has a fine balance of wingers, strikers and defenders:

Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United)

Diafra Sakho (West Ham United)

Pape Souare (Crystal Palace)

Idrissa Gana (Everton)

Oumar Niasse (Everton)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City)

Papi Djilobodji (Sunderland)

Lamine Kone (Sunderland)

All they need is a goalkeeper.

Team Nigeria
  • Victor Moses  —– Chelsea
  • Kelechi Iheanacho — Man city
  • Odion Ighalo — Watford
  • Mikel Obi —- Chelsea
  • Alex Iwobi — Arsenal
  • Ahmed Musa — Leicester City
  • Isaac Success — WatfordGrey line

No goalkeeper

Strangely, there is no African goalkeeper among the 45 African players in the premier league. Well, unless you want to count Steve Mandanda, the DR Congo-born Crystal Palace goalkeeper who plays his international football with France.

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Leicester 5 – Sunderland 5

Leicester City's Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa boosted the African presence in Leicester City
Andre Ayew
Ghana’s Andre Ayew joined West Ham from Swansea City over the summer

Premier League champions Leicester City and Sunderland have the highest African representation with five players each.

Everton, Watford and West Ham United follow closely with four players each

Sunderland has a rich African history. It has been home to some of Africa’s greatest footballers such as Cameroon’s Patrick Mboma, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah, Zimbabwe’s Benjani Mwaruwari and Morocco Talal El Karkouri.

Last year Crystal Palace had the highest number of African players, with five in total but it has since gone down to three.

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Two firsts

Equatorial Guinea and Libya have their first Premier League players this season in the form of Middlesbrough defender Emilio Nsue and Manchester United’s Sadik El Fitouri, respectively.

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Costly defender

Eric Bailly and team mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and team mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ivory Coast Defender Eric Bailly is one of the highest profile African players to join the Premier League this season. His £30m ($40m) transfer fee ranks him among the most expensive defenders.

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