The ongoing 2019-20 campaign is turning out to be a good one for African players with several of them excelling on the biggest stages of club football. From the Premier League to La Liga and other major leagues in Europe, African players have shown exemplary form this season.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight into the best African XI based on current form of the players.
Goalkeeper: André Onana (Cameroon and Ajax)
Andre Onana has established himself as one of the best upcoming goalkeepers in world football, owing to his recent performances for Ajax. Since he became Ajax’s first-choice between the sticks, the 24-year-old has been in superb form.
In the 2019-20 campaign, he made 24 appearances in Eredivisie before the Dutch government terminated the current season amid coronavirus fears. Andre Onana kept eight clean sheets and was looking to add another Eredivisie title to his name.
Right-back: Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Borussia Dortmund)
Achraf Hakimi is one of the most exciting young talents in world football at the moment. The full-back, who is on loan at Dortmund from Real Madrid, has done his reputation no harm following his impressive performances in Germany.
Hakimi has thus far made 39 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund this season so far, scoring eight goals and assisting 10. The Real Madrid loanee is the highest-scoring defender in the Champions League in the present campaign, with four goals to his name in the continental competition.
Centre-back: Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal and Napoli)
Kaliodou Koulibaly is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in world football at present, and his reputation has been fueled by his consistent performances for Napoli.
Big, strong and a good reader of the game who is confident on the ball, Koulibaly has been a rock in Napoli’s defence for years. By his own lofty standards, the Senegalese is having a below-par season in 2019-20, owing to injury problems. Koulibaly managed just 15 Serie A appearances before the league was stalled.
Centre-back: Joel Matip (Cameroon and Liverpool)
Joel Matip had a fantastic 2018-19 season as he helped Liverpool to the Champions League title. The Cameroonian played eight games in the Reds’ victorious Champions League campaign, including the semi-finals and the final.
This season, however, Matip has struggled with injuries and made just eight appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League. The Cameroonian is a no-nonsense defender, whose sole focus remains on clearing his lines without taking any risks. He has turned out to be an excellent partner for the ever-impressive Virgil van Dijk.
Left-back: Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria and Borussia Monchengladbach)
Ramy Bensebaini is a versatile player who is primarily a central defender but has excelled in the role of a left-back. After a brilliant 2018-19 season during which he won the AFCON with Algeria and Coupe De France with Rennes, Bensebaini made a switch to Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach last summer.
Since moving to Germany, the African has been plagued by injuries, managing just 14 Bundesliga appearances, scoring five times and setting up two more.
Defensive midfielder: Idrissa Gueye (Senegal and Paris Saint-Germain)
Idrissa Gueye has been one of the most underrated players in the world for the last few years, with the Senegalese performing consistently for both club and country. After making his name with Everton in the Premier League, Gueye moved to Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
An energetic midfielder, known for his ball-winning skills and his ability to press opponents in order to intercept passes, Gueye has been the driving force for the Parisians this season. The African has made 31 appearances across all competitions for PSG, scoring once and providing three assists, besides shielding his team’s defence.
Defensive midfielder: Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria and Leicester City)
The Nigerian international has been a revelation for Leicester City for the past two seasons. Since joining the Foxes in January 2017, Wilfred Ndidi has blossomed into one of the most potent defensive midfielders in the Premier League.
He has thus far made 23 appearances for the Foxes in the league this season, scoring twice and providing one assist. He also has 91 tackles to his name – one of the best in the Premier League in the ongoing campaign.
Under Brendan Rodgers, the African has improved all aspects of his game. Not only is Ndidi quickly establishing himself as a fan-favourite at the King Power Stadium, but he is also one of the main reasons behind Leicester City currently occupying the third spot in the Premier League.
Right-wing: Hakim Ziyech (Morocco and Ajax)
Hakim Ziyech has been one of the most exciting players in Europe for the past couple of years and was part of the Ajax team which caught the world’s attention last season.
Ziyech, who will join Chelsea at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, made 21 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax this season before it was terminated. He scored three goals and provided 13 assists.
Left-winger: Sadio Mane (Senegal and Liverpool)
The reigning African Player of the Year has been the talk of world football for quite some time now, with the mercurial Senegalese being in top form since joining Liverpool in 2016.
Sadio Mane, who played an important role in the Reds’ Champion’s League triumph last season, is on the verge of helping the Merseyside giants win their first Premier League title.
Mane has so far made 26 Premier League appearances this season, scoring 14 goals and setting up seven more.
Striker: Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool)
Mohamed Salah has turned into a mean goalscoring machine since joining Liverpool from Roma in the summer of 2017.
Salah has been instrumental in Liverpool’s recent rise, helping the club to Champions League glory last season by scoring in the final. The Egyptian has made 26 appearances in the Premier League this season, netting 16 times and providing six assists. The African is Liverpool’s leading goalscorer in the present campaign.
Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon and Arsenal)
The Gabon international is one of the most potent strikers in the world at present. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved to Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 and has been an instant hit in the Premier League.
The African has been one of the rare shining lights for Arsenal, who have otherwise endured a dismal campaign. Aubameyang has scored 17 Premier League goals this season and is only behind Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.
He has been constantly linked with a move away from Arsenal owing to his desire to win silverware.
Here’s how the best African XI would line up.
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria and Manchester City)
Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast and Manchester United)
Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast and Crystal Palace)
Thomas Partey (Ghana and Atletico Madrid)
Roman Saiss (Morocco and Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast and Tottenham Hotspur)
Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast and Arsenal)