Selasa, 25 Jun 2013

Awang hitam yang berjaya di England

Top Ten African Players In England

10. Steven Pienaar

It was a toss-up between Pienaar and his former Everton teammate Yakubu for tenth place, with the South African just edging it. Despite Yakubu bowing out of the Premier League with a brilliant season at Blackburn in 2011/12, the striker's time in England will largely be remembered for his relatively disappointing spell at Goodison Park following an £11.25m move from Middlesbrough. 

Pienaar, on the other hand, proved to be a bargain buy from Borussia Dortmund for just £2.4m and has justified the £4m Everton paid to bring him back from Spurs last summer. The tricky playmaker has played a key part in the Toffees' recent success under David Moyes and will be integral to Roberto Martinez's plans next season, especially if he can contribute more moments.

9. Benni McCarthy
McCarthy was something of a laughing stock when he left West Ham on a free transfer in 2011 having failed to score a single goal for the club and ballooning to almost double his original size. But despite this embarrassing end to the striker's spell in England, he proved a hit during his three-and-a-half seasons at Blackburn and finished second in the Premier League top scorer's chart in his debut campaign in 2006/07. McCarthy also helped Rovers reach an FA Cup semi-final - scoring thriker to knock out Arsenal - and left Ewood Park with an impressive ratio of 37 goals in 109 Premier League appearances.

8. Emmanuel Adebayor
It could be argued that Adebayor should be in the top five of this list, but no doubt many of you would also argue against his inclusion altogether. Whatever opinion you might have of the striker - and even Spurs fans aren't so keen anymore after his performances last season - it's difficult to dismiss his excellent goalscoring record in England. 

In total the Togolese has scored 83 strikes in 196 Premier League matches, averaging a similar goals-per-game ratio to Wayne Rooney and Robbie Fowler. And unless you're an Arsenal fan, you'll probably find plenty of entertainment value in Adebayor's hot-headed moments of controversy, such as his celebration against the Gooners in 2009.

7. Lucas Radebe
Nelson Mandela declared on an official visit to Leeds in 2001 that Radebe was his 'hero', and the great man isn't alone in being a fan of the former South Africa captain. After starting his career at Kaizer Chiefs in his homeland, Radebe spent 11 years at Elland Road where he earned the nickname 'The Chief' for his commanding performances. He initially struggled to nail down a place under Howard Wilkinson, but eventually became a key player in the team and was appointed club captain by George Graham at the start of the 1998/99 season. 

"Everyone should be interested in Lucas," said Sir Alex Ferguson as the defender continued to impress in the Premier League, but Radebe stayed loyal to Leeds and helped lead the club to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001 before injury eventually forced his retirement.

6. Tony Yeboah
Yeboah spent only two years in England with Leeds between 1995 and 1997 but he certainly created an impression with 35 goals in 69 matches, including thunderous strikes against Liverpool and Wimbledon. The Ghanaian striker moved to Elland Road for just £3.4m after a similarly impressive spell in Germany at Eintracht Frankfurt and he proved to be a bargain, becoming the first non-British player to win the club's Player of the Year award in 1995/96. A hat-trick against Monaco in the UEFA Cup increased Yeboah's reputation as a talented goalscorer and after his relationship with George Graham became strained, he moved to back to the Bundesliga to sign for Hamburg.

5. Kolo Toure
It's been an embarrassing couple of years for Toure at Man City after he was banned from football for taking his wife's diet pills in 2011 and then pictured in the papers accused of having an affair in which he pretended to be a used car salesman named Francois. For this reason, it's quite easy to forget that the Ivorian was once better known for his performances on the pitch rather than his alleged misdemeanours. 

After making the breakthrough at Arsenal as a powerful and pacy centre-back, Toure became a key part of Arsene Wenger's team and made 37 appearances as the Gunners won the Premier League title and remained unbeaten in 2003/04. The 32-year-old also played in the Champions League final against Barcelona during his seven years with Arsenal before being sold to City for £16m in 2009.

4. Yaya Toure

City may have had to pay through the nose to bring in Yaya Toure (and keep him happy), but the Ivorian has been instrumental in the club's recent success. After helping City end their 35-year wait for a major trophy with FA Cup victory in 2011, Toure followed up that success by playing a key role in the team's title assault the following season. 

When the going got tough towards the end of the campaign, Toure stepped up to the plate with two goals against Newcastle to put City in the driving seat before the last-gasp final-day win against QPR. The 30-year-old failed to have the same impact last season, but when he's at the top of his game - bursting through midfield with the ball and shrugging off defenders - there are few more exciting players to watch.

3. Michael Essien

Although Essien played 30 games on loan at Real Madrid last season - mainly at right-back - it's a shame to see how injuries have limited the 30-year-old's impact. There were several clubs tracking Essien when he decided to leave Lyon in 2005, including Manchester United, but the commanding midfielder opted to join Chelsea where he made a big impression in his first season as the Blues won a second Premier League title in a row under Jose Mourinho. 

Essien picked up the club's Player of the Year award the following season but a ruptured cruciate ligament sustained at the start of the 2008/09 campaign began a spiral of injury problems that saw Essien play only 14 matches as Chelsea reclaimed the title in 2010. Hopefully next year, with 'Daddy' returning, Essien will be able to offer more moments.

2. Jay-Jay Okocha

Football is meant to be fun and it's difficult to think of anyone who has played the game with a bigger smile on their face than Okocha. The former Nigeria captain proved to be a huge coup for Bolton after joining the club on a free transfer from PSG in 2002 and he provided four years of great entertainment before departing for Qatar (and subsequently returning to Hull City). 

His brilliant finish against West Ham was voted Bolton's Goal of the Season in Okocha's debut campaign as Sam Allardyce's team held onto their Premier League status, before the Nigerian captained the side to the League Cup final in 2004, scoring thunderous free-kick against Aston Villa in the semi-final.

1. Didier Drogba

It will be strange to see Jose Mourinho managing Chelsea next season without Drogba as his leading man after the striker helped the Blues to back-to-back Premier League title victories during the Portuguese's first two years at Stamford Bridge. Following Mourinho's departure, Drogba remained a key player for Chelsea and scored 29 league goals as Carlo Ancelotti's side beat Manchester United to the title in 2009/10 as well as the winning strike in the FA Cup final to complete the double. 

It was fitting that he signed off with a Herculean performance and the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final and, after previously courting widespread criticism for his theatrics and outbursts, Drogba left England with the grudging respect of fans.


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