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No Nigerian listed as Salah and Mane make CAF Team of the Century



No Super Eagles player is listed in the just released CAF Team of the Century made public on the 61st independent anniversary of Nigeria.

Both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been named in the Confederation of African Football’s Team of the 21st Century.

Fans were encouraged to select their ultimate post-2000 CAF XI over the past few days with the votes eventually being tallied to find the best of the best.

Egypt – who have won the African Cup of Nations three times this century – dominate the team, with six of the 11 players selected hailing from the country.

In goal is Essam El Hadary, who enjoyed a 27-year career in football, and the back four in front of him also has an Egyptian flavour.

Right-back Ahmed Fathy who was part of three AFCON-winning sides and also spent time in England with Sheffield United and Hull City.


On the opposite side of the defence is Sayed Moawad, who was capped 79 by the Pharaohs between 2000 and 2013.

The centre-back pairing features another Egyptian, Wael Gomaa, who is considered one of the greatest African defenders of all-time despite never making his mark in Europe. Alongside him is Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been Napoli’s defensive lynchpin for many years.

Yaya Toure, who carved out a sensational club career for Barcelona and Manchester City as well as impressing for Cote d’Ivoire, has been picked in midfield.

He is partnered by Mohamed Aboutrika, in what looks like an extremely attacking double pivot.

Salah and Mane have been picked either side of a fearsome strike duo. One half of it is Chelsea legend Didier Drogba. He is playing alongside the often-underappreciated Samuel Eto’o.


Among the notable names to miss out on the Team of the 21st Century are Riyad Mahrez, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Michael Essien.

In most cases, a lack of success at international level likely precluded them from selection.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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