With another enticing assortment of Premier League bouts ahead of us this weekend, the stars of Africa are once again poised to set the country’s turf alight.
Up and down the league, teams have been relying on Africa’s heroes to score their goals and preserve their clean sheets. And with varying success, they have been contributing profoundly to the league’s key storylines.
Wherever you look, Africans are making headlines. This weekend promises to be no different.
I begin with Sebastien Bassong, one of Africa’s stars in the Premier League’s opening phases. Norwich entertain Sunderland in Sunday’s sole Premier League match. While Bassong can’t exactly expect a weekend off, Sunderland are likely to pose much less of a threat than Norwich’s opponents from previous weeks. Blunt up front and uninspired in midfield, Sunderland are labouring. Stephane Sessegnon is struggling to hit the heights of a year ago.
With Bassong continuing to marshal the defence, Norwich can expect to prosper on ‘Super’ Sunday.
At the Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion look to overcome their poor midweek defeat to Swansea by securing three points at home against Stoke City. Peter Odemwingie will hope to be a creative and scoring force for the Throstles. In the opposing camp, Steven N'Zonzi—facing an existential crisis of whether to choose France or the DRC—will look to anchor the midfield for the Potters.
In West London, QPR are crying out for a hero. Harry Redknapp might just be that man, and on Saturday he has the chance to demonstrate his credentials at home to Aston Villa. As Redknapp attempts to fashion an EPL team from Mark Hughes’ also-rans, he can call upon a number of African and African-born talents.
Among the Rangers’ ranks are the likes of Stephane Mbia, Armand Traore, Samba Diakite and Adel Taarabt—all of whom have represented African nations—as well as Djibril Cisse and Jose Bosingwa, who were born of African parents.
Redknapp certainly has the talents to pull the Rs away from the drop zone. The question is, can he jell them together?
Finally, look out for West Ham’s African trio of Guy Demel, Mo Diame and Modibo Maiga to put on a good show at home against Chelsea, although the Blues’ Nigerian duo of John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses will be looking to secure a valuable first win for new boss Rafael Benitez.