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23 July 2017 20:44 (South Africa)
Sport

Football and Society: Exciting young African player signs for the Arsenal

  • Ismail Lagardien
    Dr-Ismail-Lagardien.jpg
    Ismail Lagardien

    Ismail Lagardien is the Executive Dean of Business and Economics Sciences at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is sure people are wise enough to work out that the views expressed in this space do not represent those of his employers. Also, he writes at around midnight so he can focus on his day job – which is the greatest job anyone can wish for…. 

    Other than aspiring, always, to write as well as Tolstoy, he has an active and engaged interest in the global political economy, global finance, and in capitalism – especially the neo-classical economics basis and liberal orthodoxy that provides the intellectual and political basis for late capitalism.

    He was, once, an average journalist and a rubbish photographer. He was overpaid and under-employed in the office of Joseph Stiglitz, when the latter was Chief Economist of the World Bank. He made a small contribution to the National Development Plan.

    He has no religious or spiritual beliefs, does not care for identity politics – especially not religion, ethnicity and race - and is just pleased, every morning, that he has another day. In particular, he believes that bad people have the capacity to be good, and good people the capacity to be bad. 

    To paraphrase his favourite director, Andrei Tarkovsky he believes that we write because we are tormented, because we have doubt, because we are constantly in need to prove ourselves and that we are worthy of something.

    He was born in Fietas, Johannesburg, grew up in Grahamstown and Eldorado Park, and studied at the London School of Economics and at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

  • Sport
Photo: FC Basel's Mohamed Elneny (R) fights for the ball with Andre Ramalho of FC Salzburg during their Europa League round of 16 second leg soccer match in Salzburg March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Mohamed Elneny joins a long list of exceptional and some not so exceptional African players in the English Premier League. We will have to wait and see if he can give Arsenal an extra surge towards the Premier League title. By ISMAIL LAGARDIEN.

Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny has signed for Arsenal from Swiss club, Basel, and joins a legion of African players in the English premier league. While the Arsenal gets something they need, a central midfielder to ease their injury burden, Elneny is described as durable, single-minded with “a mind that has become attuned to the nuances of the defensive midfield role and, more recently, has added more forward-thinking accoutrements”. He is “an intelligent reader of the game, who knows when to hold and when to intercept; he is the ultimate team player, “a manager’s dream because of his work-rate and lack of ego”, The Guardian tells us.

We will have to wait and see, of course, how he works out on the field and in the high-intensity of the Premier League. Arsenal are among the favourites to win the Premier League this season, but they are (quite honestly) too erratic…. You never know what you’re going to get, other than beautiful football. (Note to Arsène Wenger: Goals win games, not pretty plays.)

Elneny began his senior career with El Mokawloon in the Egyptian Premier League. He helped his country to the quarter-finals of the London Olympics in 2012. In the Premier League, Elneny joins the likes of the Toure brothers, Alex Song, Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel, some of the best players in the Premier League.

Elneny strengthens the Africa contingent in the Premier League. A quick survey shows that Crystal Palace have the most African players (five), with Chelsea and West Ham in second place (four).

Chelsea

John Obi Mikel (Nigeria)

Bertrand Traore (Burkina Faso)

Baba Rahman (Ghana)

Papy Djilobodji (Senegal)

Crystal Palace

Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo)

Pape Souare (Senegal)

Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)

Kwesi Appiah (Ghana)

Bakary Sako (Mali)

West Ham

Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Diafra Sakho (Senegal)

Victor Moses (Nigeria)

Alex Song (Cameroon).

Newcastle

Papiss Cisse (Senegal)

Cheick Tiote (Ivory Coast)

Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo).

Norwich

Sebastien Bassong (Cameroon)

Youssouf Mulumbu (DR Congo)

Dieumerci Mbokani (DR Congo).

Tottenham Hotspur

Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)

Watford

Adlene Guedioura (Algeria)

Allan Nyom (Cameroon)

Odion Ighalo (Nigeria).

Bournemouth

Christian Atsu (Ghana)

Tokelo Rantie (South Africa)

Max Gradel (Ivory Coast).

Manchester City

Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)

Liverpool

Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast)

Stoke City

Mame Biram Diouf (Senegal)

Southampton

Victor Wanyama (Kenya)

Saido Mane (Senegal)

These players follow in the path paved by some of Africa’s best players of the past two decades. Players like:

Tony Yeboah (Ghana)

Lucas Radebe (South Africa)

Mustapha Hadji (Morocco)

Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria)

Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)

Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)

George Weah (Liberia)

Weah is to date the only African player to win both the Fifa World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or awards in the same year. Drogba has the distinction of being the first African player to score 50 goals in European competitions. I never did rate El Hadji Diouf (Senegal) as one of the outstanding players in the Premier League (he was a nasty piece of work) but he deserves a mention.

Elneny joins a long list of former Arsenal players from Africa: Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Fabrice Muamba, Armand Traore, Gilles Sunu, Emmanuel Frimpong, Gervinho, Yaya Sanogo, Jehad Muntasser, Carlin Itonga, Christopher Wreh, Marouane Chamakh, Emmanuel Eboue, Alex Song and Lauren, one of Arsenal’s Invincibles, the team that went unbeaten in the 2003 – 2004 season. DM

Photo: FC Basel's Mohamed Elneny (R) fights for the ball with Andre Ramalho of FC Salzburg during their Europa League round of 16 second leg soccer match in Salzburg March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

  • Ismail Lagardien
    Dr-Ismail-Lagardien.jpg
    Ismail Lagardien

    Ismail Lagardien is the Executive Dean of Business and Economics Sciences at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He is sure people are wise enough to work out that the views expressed in this space do not represent those of his employers. Also, he writes at around midnight so he can focus on his day job – which is the greatest job anyone can wish for…. 

    Other than aspiring, always, to write as well as Tolstoy, he has an active and engaged interest in the global political economy, global finance, and in capitalism – especially the neo-classical economics basis and liberal orthodoxy that provides the intellectual and political basis for late capitalism.

    He was, once, an average journalist and a rubbish photographer. He was overpaid and under-employed in the office of Joseph Stiglitz, when the latter was Chief Economist of the World Bank. He made a small contribution to the National Development Plan.

    He has no religious or spiritual beliefs, does not care for identity politics – especially not religion, ethnicity and race - and is just pleased, every morning, that he has another day. In particular, he believes that bad people have the capacity to be good, and good people the capacity to be bad. 

    To paraphrase his favourite director, Andrei Tarkovsky he believes that we write because we are tormented, because we have doubt, because we are constantly in need to prove ourselves and that we are worthy of something.

    He was born in Fietas, Johannesburg, grew up in Grahamstown and Eldorado Park, and studied at the London School of Economics and at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

  • Sport

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