Why the Premiership is the best* place to watch African football
(Published by Alive & Kicking on 6th August, 2010)
Arsenal's Eboue with an A&K ball
With less than two weeks to go before the start of the Premier League season we thought we’d set out the case for why it is the best league in Europe if you want to watch African players. Quick hint to the Chelsea fans: the argument is a bit more complex than the words ‘Didier’ and ‘Drogba’. So, here are five simple reasons why the Prem is the place to watch African football:
1. There are a lot of African players. An obvious point really, but on our count there are 44 Premiership players with African nationalities. That’s enough for 4 first-elevens, 2 medium-sized squads, or 1 squad of the size Man City appear to be aiming for.
2. Of the 20 teams in the league, 18 have at least one African player. This means that of the 308 matches each season, only two (Birmingham City vs Blackpool: home and away) are guaranteed not to have the continent represented. That means that if you were to pick a match at random from the fixture list there’s a 99.74% chance you’ll see an African play, and he’s guaranteed to score a hat-trick. Alright, we made that last bit up but the probability is correct (although it does rely on all African players staying fit and playing every game).
3. The Prem has the best African players. This may sound like an opinion, but it’s actually a fact. Three out of the last four winners of African Footballer of the Year were playing in England when they won it. The only player to break that trend was Samuel Eto’o, and seeing as he was deemed to be worth €46 million less than Zlatan Ibrahimović in their recent swap, we can safely assume he must be useless.
4. The best goal in Premier League history was scored by an African. As voted for by A&K, the greatest goal was Tony Yeboah for Leeds against Wimbledon in the 95/96 season (to our younger readers: yes, both those teams were once in the Premiership):
5. The best celebration in Premier League history was by an African. Obviously the best goal celebration of all time is the Gone Fishing one that’s all over the web at present. But the best in the Prem? Three words: Adebayor against Arsenal. Never has a celebration caused so much anger or been so unnecessary. That’s true entertainment.
Well there you have it. The place to watch African football (in Europe) this season is the Premier League. In fact the only thing that could make the case stronger would be if there were some African managers in the league too.
If you disagree with our analysis or any of our ‘evidence’, then please let us know in the comments. A few more YouTube clips of great goals scored by African players wouldn’t go amiss either.