Recently, Africa has become a hotbed for young talent. Future stars are making names for themselves.
Take Egyptian (and African) champions Al Ahly: Ahmed Hegazy, Trezeguet, and Ramadan Sobhi who have all recently transferred to successful European teams. And Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca have sold Yassine Bounou, who has since become one of La Liga’s best goalkeepers. South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns have moved Percy Tau and Keagan Dolly to first tier European teams. Leicester City’s former record transfer, Islam Slimani, was an export of CR Belouizdad in Algeria.
But which players can we expect to be the next big departures to Europe?
Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, Midfielder, Esperance Tunis
One of the top talents in Africa right now, Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, is enjoying a fine season with Esperance and has attracted attention from some of the top teams in Europe. Ben Romdhane played 35 games this season with Esperance, scoring ten goals and grabbing a further three assists. The Tunisian midfielder has also earned six caps for the national team.
Esperance reached the semifinals of the CAF Champions League thanks to five goals from Ben Romdhane. He was able to lead Esperance to a league victory with a comfortable ten point margin of victory. However, Esperance exited the Tunisian Cup in the first round.
Aliou Dieng, Midfielder, Al Ahly
Since joining Al Ahly in 2019, the Malian midfielder has gone on to be one of Al Ahly’s top players. He has played 82 games for the Egyptian side, winning five trophies with potential to win two more by the end of the season.
Dieng played a massive role in Al Ahly’s treble last season, playing 41 games. He scored twice, assisted two, and could have made even more of an impact had he not been injured at the end of the season. Dieng has reportedly gained interest from Galatasaray and Manchester United.
Konadu Yiadom, Centerback, WAFA SC
Konadu Yiadom was a star in defense for Ghana’s most over-performing team. One of the youngest teams in Ghana, WAFA SC finished third, just five points behind league winners Hearts of Oak.
Yiadom played 32 of WAFA’s 34 games, with WAFA losing one and tying the other match that he missed. He also was called up for his first ever international cap, a 2-1 loss to Uzbekistan. Yiadom played the entire match. Becoming an international will increase Yiadom’s odds of a move abroad.
Achraf Dari, Centerback, Wydad Casablanca
One of the star performers of the CAF Champions League, Achraf Dari helped Wydad keep seven clean sheets until Wydad were eliminated in the Semi-finals at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs. He also led Wydad to first in the Botola Pro league, Morocco’s first tier.
Unsurprisingly, like every talented North African, Galatasaray are rumored to be interested. Teams in Egypt and France also have allegedly shown interest, but for now Dari’s main goal should be to make Morocco’s senior squad.
Abdelkahar Kadri, Midfielder, Paradou AC
Abdelkahar Kadri is one of the most wanted players in Africa, with clubs from France and Portugal among those interested. The 21-year old has long been on the radar of many top teams, but this summer he might get his move.
Kadri played more league games this season (26) than he has in any other season, and scored three goals with three assists. Kadri’s club Paradou struggled to a tenth placed finish in Algeria’s top flight, and at the very least should consider a move to a more successful club in Morocco.
Sibusiso Mabiliso, Left-back, Kaizer Chiefs
Mabiliso won’t move to Europe this summer as he has just moved to CAF Champions League finalists Kaizer Chiefs, but he has shown a lot of potential that could leave to a move in the future.
Mabiliso played 25 league matches last season with AmaZulu FC, who eventually finished second in South Africa. Mabiliso was critical for AmaZulu: in the six matches that he missed, AmaZulu won none. He also earned his first South Africa appearance.
With the CAF Champions League growing in stature, more African players are having the opportunity to move abroad. Some of the best teams in the Europe (Liverpool and Atalanta) have taken to scouting Africa to improve their teams. Maybe someone on this list will be the next big player someday.
Any players you think I missed? Leave a comment!
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