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RUSSIA 2018- COMBINED ELEVEN OF AFRICAN PLAYERS WHO MISSED OUT ON THE FUTBOL MUNDIAL

Despite being a dream for most players to have an appearance at the World Cup stage, most miss out usually due to non-qualification. It can be easily agreed that it takes a team and not just eleven players to win a game. Great individual players missed out on the global funfair due to the nation they represent. 

Oppon Weah, Abedi Ayew, Anthony Yeboah, Razak Abdul, Mohammed Aboutrika and a host of others never had the chance in their days. The need for an increase in the number of African nations participating at the World Cup beckons. 

Only 5 of the 56 members of the CAF zone get to play at the global event held every four years. 

This year's tournament is no different as some big names also missed out from the African continent. Gyamfi's Column brings you a combined eleven of the African players who missed out on the plane to Russia. 

Formation- 3-3-3-1

Itumeleng Khune - GK 
The South African kept the goal for the Bafana Bafana at the 2010 World Cup which was their last. On home soil he saw a red card against Uruguay on matchday 2. He beat Dennis Onyango and Richard Ofori to the best goalkeeper award at the end of the 2017/18 season. In all he played 35 games across all tournaments, conceeded 23 goals and kept 20 clean sheets, 16 of those coming in he league. Would have been a delight to see him add up to his 53 clean sheets in 78 caps for South Africa. 

Serge Aurier - RCB 
An established defender who rose to the limelight in 2013/14. He scored 6 times for Toulouse from right centre back or right wing back depending on how he was deployed. Later joined PSG where he won the French League twice. Had Ivory Coast qualified, his link up play and dazzling runs down the right would have been pleasing to see. You dare not cross his path, he hugs with a tackle. 2 goals, 2 assists in 17 games for Tottenham in the league this season. Will be missed by many. 

Joel Matip - CB
Known for his ability to pass the ball from the back, the Cameroonian is expected to build a strong partnership with Van Dijk come next season for Liverpool. In the 54 league games played for Liverpool, only 7 have resulted in a loss. He averaged 89% passing accuracy in his 25 league games this season. A repeat of his goal against Brazil in 2014? No Matip to do that. 

Eric Bailly - LCB
He played 11 matches but for the final Manchester United won the Europa League trophy last year. With some assuring performances, he was named in the team of the tournament. Described as a defender with just natural talent by Jose Mourinho, he helped the club attain a Champions League spot in his first year. Though he was limited to just 11 appearances this season due to injury, the hard tackling defender would have been a tough customer for any attacker at the World Cup. 

Thomas Partey - CM
2 goals in his last 2 games as Captain of the Ghana national team, the Athletico Madrid midfielder would have been a delight to watch at the World Cup.  He chalked 2.1 tackles per game in the La liga where he scored 3 goals in 28 starts. He also won the Europa League this season with Simeone's side. 

Jean Seri - RCM
Linked with a move to the big clubs in the EPL, the Ivorian broke into the limelight last season with 7 goals and 9 asissts for Nice in the French League. The former Asec Mimosas player has managed an 89.95% pass accuracy in his last two seasons in France. The OGC Nice 2017 player of the year would have been a great addition to the players at the World Cup. 

Naby Keita - LCM
The Syli National can only limit his dreams to only as far as AFCON appearances. Guinea will never be considered to get a spot at the mondial. The squad lacks depth in quality. His 8 goals and 7 assists for RB Leipzig in the 2016/17 Bundesliga ride was what propelled his name to the many soccer fans. This earned him a £48m move to Liverpool as he looks set to join Matip, Mane and Salah at Anfield. Not the kind of player any defensive midfielder would love to encounter. 

Riyadh Mahrez- RAM
The 2016 African Player of the year and English Premier League Player of the year had a revived season in 2017/18. 6 goals and 3 asissts the season before was below his own lofty standards. His 12 goals and 10 assists this season is enough to see the Algerian move to Manchester City before the new season begins. He was part of Leceister City's  title winning team where he got 17 goals and 11 assists. Even opponents love to see his quick left foot. 

Jordan Ayew- CAM
The Ghanaian had a good enough season as he stood out in a rather poor Swansea side tat git relegated at the end of the season. He managed to score 7 times and claimed the Man of the Match award on 6 occasions in 36 league matches. His defensive contribution is worth noting. 58 goals, 22 assists for Marseille, Sochaux, Lorient, Aston Villa and Swansea makes him a force to reckon with. Made his debut for the Ghana national team in 2010 and would have loved to be at his second World Cup. 

Wilfried Zaha - LAM 
Zaha never ceases to dazzle and this season he added goals to his game. How crucial was this to Crystal Palace? He aided their survival from relegation. The Ivorian scored 9 times and assisted other players to score 3 times. In his best season, he also averaged 4.1 dribbles per game. He got his English debut against Sweden same as when he did for Ivory Coast. Hopefully he gets to play with the Elephants at the World Cup.  

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang - FW
The beat finisher from the continent now, the Gabonese Captain might never get to play at the World Cup stage due to his age and nationality. The 2015 African Footballer of the year could have represented Italy, France or Spain. Prior to his move to Arsenal in January, he had scored 13 goals in 16 league appearances for Dortmund in he 2017/18 season. He got 98 goals during his time at the German club.The 2016/17 Bundesliga goalking scored 10 times and assisted 4 goals in his 13 league games for Arsenal upon his transfer. How many forwards at the mondial are as clinical as he is? 31 goals,  7 asissts in 38 games for Arsenal and Dortmund in the 2017/18 is worth heralding. His fancy hairstyles will never see the Golden trophy. 


Hopefully we can get to see some of these players at the next World Cup. 




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