Friday, 21 June 2013

Marwan's take on CAF Players in the PL last season


I would like to talk about Confederation of African Football (CAF) players in the Premier league last season and how they fared individually. As we know, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) had a significant impact on some of their performances and appearances in the latter half of the season.  Yaya Toure was probably affected the most by it and may have made a bigger impact for City had there been no AFCON.  As for his brother Kolo, he was a bit part player at best who barely made the bench and won’t be at City next season.

Senegalese players were not able to participate in the AFCON due to Senegal's ban. Ironically, in spite of this, Demba Ba had a superb first half of the season with Newcastle, scoring 13 league goals in 20 matches. However, he only scored 2 in 14 after transferring to Chelsea.  As for his fellow countryman Papiss Cisse, he struggled to live up to his billing and made no major impact at Tyneside.

West Ham's Mohamed Diame had a fairly good season.  So much so that he was linked to Arsenal at one stage.  He highlighted his talent via a well taken goal against leaders Manchester United. His teammate Guy Demel also had a fairly good season in defence as they both guided West Ham to mid-table safety.  As for Chamakh, on loan from Arsenal, he had a season to forget.  Of course, Chelsea's Moses and Mikel triumphed at the AFCON with Nigeria but didn't have much influence in the league with the Blues.

Sessegnon’s influence on Sunderland's survival can’t be overlooked.  He occasionally shined during Fletcher and Graham's periods of inconsistency, while fellow Egyptian teammate Ahmed El-Mohamady, enjoyed a terrific season on loan to Hull City.  He helped them secure Premier league football next season while also winning the club's player of the year award.

Ameobi had the usual “lack of goals” season that we expect of him, while Cheikh Tiote underperformed before and after AFCON. Tottenham's Assou-Ekotto and Adebayor also had a terrible season compared to their usual standards; the first struggling with injuries and squad competition, where as the latter scored 5 league goals compared to 17 the season before.  On the other side of London, Adel Taarabt had a dire season with QPR as they got relegated and Arsenal's Diaby had an injury plagued season.

Gervinho had a very stop-start season. I would be surprised if he manages to keep his place on Arsenal's bench next season.   Aside from Youssouf Mulumbu’s antics against West Ham when he picked the ball up and aimed a shot at Gary O’Neill, he had a reasonable season of sorts.  In summary, some may stay and some may leave come August.  But overall, the CAF contingent will be a force to be reckoned with.