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RUSSIA 2018- BEST ELEVEN AFRICAN PLAYERS REPRESENTING EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AT THE ROUND 16

A handbook on the FIFA 1998 World Cup was the first to get me understand that players could switch nationality. France had won the coveted goldware with Netherlands also impressing. Well, players like Pires, Dessailly, Seedorf, Davids, Henry, Trezeguet and Zidane amongst others excelled but later did I know they were from different countries other than those they represented. 

My affection for the Greece League grew as Peter Ofori Quaye (Olympiakos) and Derek Boateng (Panathinaikos) thrilled the arenas. It was during Boateng's unveiling that I was struck with this name, Emmanuel Olisadebe. The two had a good stint in Athens.I thought Olisadebe was going to form a good partnership with upcoming strikers Bartholomew Ogbeche and Agahowa for Nigeria only to be told that he was a Pole. 

Born in Nigeria, Olisadebe scored 8 times in 10 qualification matches for Poland as they qualified for the 2002 World Cup. It was their first since 1986. Once more Africa was left to imagine what could have been. Well, it was never going to end there as Gerald Asamoah played the 2002 World Cup final as a German international and first black to represent the nation. Since then,  it's not surprising to see African players doing battle for countries from other continents at global tournaments. France and Portugal have benefited the most because of colonial affiliations. 

Embolo, Akanji and Moubanjie are all representing Switzerland

The 2018 World Cup is no exemption. All though the African countries did not give so much good account of the talent abound in Africa, some players from this continent are doing so well for different countries at the World Cup. We present to you the best eleven players with African backgrounds who will be representing other countries from other continents in the Round of 16 matches. Could  this team have won the goldware for the continent? 

Steve Mandanda (Goalkeeper
The shot stopper born in Kinshasa,  Congo DR was France's number one goalkeeper after the UEFA EURO 2008 competition. He has gradually lost his place to Hugo Lloris but the 35 year old was called on in the game against Denmark. With not so much at stake though, the  veteran kept a cleansheet on his 28th cap. 

Dedryk Boyata (Centre Back)
Dedryk was born in Uccle, Brussels.His father Bienvenu Mandungu Boyata is a retired Congolese football player, who played during the 1990s in Belgium. An intended understudy in the center of defence, Boyata has rather been a regular at this tournament for Belgium owing to injuries to Kompany and Vermaelen. He has managed 5.7 clearances on the average in the two games he has played with 91.8% pass success.  

Samuel Umtiti (Right Centre Back)
Samuel Yves Umtiti was born on the 14th day of November 1993 at Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon. He was born to Mrs Annie Ngo Um, his mother and an unknown father. He sat out as France drew goalless with Denmark. He is expected to regain his role in the subsequent games.  

Manuel Akanji (Left Centre Back) 
He made his debut in the Russia 2008 qualifier against Faroe Islands in June 2017. The defender was born to a Nigerian father and Swiss mother. With 3 starts at the World Cup,  he has now increased his caps for Switzerland to 9. He has averaged 72.7 passes per game. 

Ngolo Kante (Defensive Midfielder) 
The English Premier League’s Player of the Season for 2016/17 was at his ball-winning best against Australia, regaining possession 14 times in all, though he was quick to play down that statistic. With a Malian background, the midfielder is expected to hold the line infront of the French defence as they seek to make it to the final.

William Cavalho (Central Midfielder
Born in Angola, William Carvalho moved to Portugal as a young boy, later choosing to pursue an international career with his adopted country. After representing A Seleção das Quinas in every age group, he won his first senior cap in November 2013 and has remained part of the set-up ever since. His ability to read the game and initiate attacks with his witty passes has been key though Ronaldo gains the headlines with his goalscoring for the Selecao. 
Boyata (20) hugs Lukaku (9) as Belgium celebrate a goal 
Paul Pogba (Attacking Midfielder
Captain of France's youth teams at U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-20 levels, Pogba has proved himself indispensable to all the sides he has played for. Pogba was born in Lagny-sur-Marne , Seine-et-Marne , to Guinean parents. The midfielder who has already played twice at this year's tournament will look to build up on his 9 international goals for France.

Breel Embolo (Left Midfielder) 
Embolo was born in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. His mother settled with her two sons in Basel. Although he was courted by Cameroon, Embolo opted to represent Switzerland at international level in December 2014. With 28 caps, the 21year old will look to help the Swiss side to a World Cup surprise. 

Pione Sisto (Right Midfielder) 
Sisto is the son of South Sudanese parents, was born in Uganda and arrived in Denmark at the age of two months. Blessed with pace and trickery, the side man has been one of the Danes brightest spot at the World Cup. In his 3 games he has racked 3.7 dribbles averagely.

Kylian Mbappe (Second Striker) 
Kylian's father, Wilfred Mbappe , who has Cameroonian and Nigerian roots, was once a refuge, who migrated to France for greener pastures. According to reports, Wilfred in a bid to get a permanent stay got married to an Algerian - French lady Fayza, an ex - handball player. Their son, Kylian became the youngest ever player to represent France at a senior tournament. With a goal under his belt already, Kylian looks likely to do damage to any defence with his pace and skill. 

Romelu Lukaku ( Centre Forward)  
The big center forward has already bagged 4 goals from 5 attempts in his 2 games at the World Cup. Already the leading top scorer of the Belgium national team, "Big Rom" will lead the line as Belgium's golden generation seeks the goldware. Born in Antwerp, Northern Belgium to Congolese parents, the attacker draws many resemblance to Emile Mpenza, another Belgium great from the Belgian black ethnicity. 


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