BY KUNLE SOLAJA
With a possible FIFA worldwide ban on clubs and their players involved in the now crumbling European Super League, Nigeria’s Super Eagles will be the least affected among the football powers of Africa.
FIFA had threatened the players of the proposed Super League with bans, not just from the World Cup, but also from their respective national teams. The players would have been excluded from the qualifying series of World Cup which begin in June and also the Africa Cup of Nations which holds in January 2022.
Thirteen African players would have had their international career in jeopardy.
Only one fringe player of the Super Eagles, Taiwo Awoniyi who is a Liverpool player serving long term loan spell would have been affected.
At the moment, Awoniyi is on loan at German sides, Union Berlin. The other Nigerian player who would have been affected, Victor Moses of Chelsea who is on loan at Spartak Moscow has long retired from the Super Eagles.
In contrast to the possible effect on Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire would have been the worst hit in Africa.
The West African sides have at least five regular players spread among the clubs behind the European Super League.
The players are Sergie Aurier of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United pair of Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo, Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal and Franck Kessie of AC Milan.
Senegal, Africa’s number one in FIFA ranking would have lost three players owing to the potential ban. These include Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy of Chelsea, and Moussa Wague – on the books at Barcelona, though currently on loan at Greek side PAOK Salonika.
Other African players that would have been affected are Egypt’s Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City as well as Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal.
Others who would have been affected include Guinea’s Naby Keita of Liverpool and clubmate, Cameroon’s Joel Matip. Real Madrid, among the initial 12 Super League clubs, is the only one without an African player.
The lineup of players on danger list are:
- Mohamed Salah – Egypt
- Sadio Mane – Senegal
- Naby Keita – Guinea
- Joel Matip – Cameroon
- (Taiwo Awoniyi – Nigeria – on loan at Union Berlin)
- Edouard Mendy – Senegal
- Hakim Ziyech – Morocco
- (Baba Rahman – Ghana – on loan at PAOK Salonika)
- (Victor Moses – Nigeria – on loan at Spartak Moscow)
- Riyad Mahrez – Algeria
- Eric Bailly – Cote d’Ivoire
- Amad Diallo – Cote d’Ivoire
- Serge Aurier – Cote d’Ivoire
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Gabon
- Thomas Partey – Ghana
- Nicolas Pepe – Cote d’Ivoire
- Mohamed El Neny – Egypt
- Ismael Bennacer – Algeria
- Franck Kessie – Cote d’Ivoire
- Geoffrey Kondogbia – Central African Republic
(Moussa Wague – Senegal – on loan at PAOK Salonika)
- Achraf Hakimi – Morocco
- Hamza Rafia – Tunisia (in Juve’s junior side)