A preview of African stars playing in this season's Champions League and their chances of winning it.
With the return of the Champions League, we take a look at the chances of African players in the tournament.
It was in Munich in 2012 that a Champions League winning team last featured some African players.
Didier Drogba, who scored a late equaliser for Chelsea before converting the last penalty in the shoot-out win in the 2012 final against Bayern Munich, Solomon Kalou, Michael Essien and John Mikel Obi-who had arguably his best performance in a Chelsea shirt in that game- were the last African players to win the Champions League.
Five years later, they have been no African winners of the Champions League. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid (three times) and Barcelona who have been the only winners of the Champions League since 2013 had no Africans in their squads.
The Premier League have five teams in the Champions League this season and although they have not been exceptional in the Champions League in recent years, it is with these clubs that African players have the best chance of winning it.
Champions Chelsea have Victor Moses who is aiming to become only the fourth Nigerian player to win the Champions League-Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George and Mikel Obi are the only three Nigerian Champions League winners.
Back in the Champions League, Chelsea could be considered one of the European heavyweights and if they can overcome the obstacles in Group C in the form of Atletico Madrid, Roma and Qarabag, Moses might start dreaming of getting his hands on the Champions League title.
Yaya Toure who has won the Champions League before with Barcelona also has the chance of adding another title to his name with Manchester City. With the huge sums they have splashed in the transfer window, City under Pep Guardiola have a chance of achieving the owners and fans dreams of joining the European elites. A Champions League title will guarantee that.
Jose Mourinho won the Champions Leagues with Porto and Inter Milan in his second full season at the clubs. This is his second season at Manchester United and with the way they have started in the Premier League, it will be unwise to count Eric Bailly from getting a Champions League medal this season.
Liverpool have Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Joel Matip playing in the Champions League this season. While a Liverpool win will be a surprise, it won’t be a shock to see the African players playing prominent roles if it happens.
Victor Wanyama and Serge Aurier will have to navigate a tough Group H which has Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Apoel; they also have the Wembley hoodoo to overcome before they can start thinking of winning the Champions League.
Out of England, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is very unlikely to get his hands on the trophy with Borussia Dortmund while Medhi Benatia and Kwadwo Asamoah are looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing in the last final to Real Madrid.
Ghanaian Thomas Partey will be looking to play some part in Atletico Madrid’s campaign and with the toughness and grit that comes with the Diego Simeone side, maybe he stands a chance of pulling an upset with his teammates.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Faouzi Ghoulam will be in action for Napoli while highly rated Naby Keita is only expected to test his mettle against the world’s best in this season’s Champions League campaign.
Source: Pulse Nig