afs-top-20-april14

In this feature, Africa Football Shop’s Editor-in-Chief Ed Dove  runs down his Top 20 African players in World Football today.

This is the second entry in the series, which aims to celebrate the Top 20 African players in the World today. You can find last month’s rankings here and each player’s changes in position and ranking are noted below.

Are we rating someone far too highly? Is someone missing who should certainly be classed among the continent’s finest at this point in time? Comment below.

March 2014
NO.20: FAOUZI GHOULAM
Ghoulam Faouzi Ghoulam has featured in three of the last four AFS Team of the Week selections. This is testament not just to his consistency but also his improved standing within the game.The left-back hasn’t missed a step since joining Napoli from Saint-Etienne in the summer and has cemented his place among the continent’s finest in his position.At the time of writing, it’s hard to identify too many who can rival him, and the 23 year old looks likely to be Algeria’s go-to defender for the best part of a decade.*New Entry*
NO.19: CHINEDU OBASI
obasi At times over the last year, it hasn’t looked like Chinedu Obasi would rediscover his fitness following some disastrous injury problems.It is to his great credit that he is not just back playing, but that he is already influencing matches regularly for Schalke in the Bundesliga.He was in sublime form against Hertha Berlin, when he scored once, set up a goal for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and was named Man of the Match.Is it too late for the versatile forward to force his way into Stephen Keshi’s summer plans?

*New Entry*

NO.18: JOEL MATIP
14. Matip Joel Matip returns to the Top 20 this week after some fine displays in the heart of the Schalke defence.In the last month his side have only conceded two goals in the Bundesliga.Matip also contributed an assist in his side’s recent 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin.A Return to Form
NO.17: NICOLAS N’KOULOU
11. Nkoulou N’Koulou features one spot higher than his countryman this month, following a crucial late equaliser against Sochaux in Ligue 1.That was a match that Marseille looked destined to lose, but in the dying minutes, the Indomitable Lions centre-back leapt above the massed defence to head home.The rumours suggest the centre-back is set for Napoli this summer, if he does leave the Stade Velodrome, it will be a great loss for Marseille.Last Month: 15 (Down 2 places)
NO.16: MAJEED WARIS
Waris What a second half to the season for Waris Majeed.Over the last few months he’s just missed out on this list, but for the April edition of the AFS 20, we couldn’t possibly overlook him any longer.Since arriving at relegation-threatened Valenciennes in January, the Ghanaian has scored eight, contributed three assists and been named Man of the Match on three occasions.On him, VAFC’s hopes of resting in the division lie.

*New Entry*

NO.15: WILFRIED BONY
17. Bony As reported by BBC Sport this week, SwanseaCity manager Garry Monk revealed that the side are planning to build the team around Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony.Having seen the forward’s explosive form recently, it’s easy to see why.He scored against Everton and in the draw with Swansea, and also assisted goals against Norwich and West Bromwich Albion.Last Month: 19 (Up 4 places)
NO.14: SALOMON KALOU
859510 A drop in the rankings this week for Kalou, but that’s due, largely to the achievements of others rather than his own failings.The forward scored the winner against Guingamp at the end of March and hasn’t endured defeat with Lille since the beginning of February. Nonetheless, Les Dogues did fail to break down Nantes.He remains linked with a move to Arsenal this summer.Last Month: 10 (Down 4 places)
NO.13: SERGE AURIER
19. Aurier Aurier hasn’t enjoyed quite an impact over the last 30 days as he did in the previous 30.Nonetheless, he remains one of Ligue 1’s outstanding players and one of Africa’s most-exciting defenders.He scored in Toulouse’s 3-2 victory away at Rennes and looks set to be a star man in Brazil.Several sources have indicated that Chelsea have now joined Arsenal in the race for his signature.

Last Month: 13 (No Movement)

NO.12: EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR
143898 It’s been a dire 30 days for Adebayor, who has plummeted right down the rankings from his position of second last month.Injuries have certainly played their part, but as Tottenham Hotspur have unravelled under Tim Sherwood, Adebayor looked anonymous in defeats against Arsenal, Benfica and, before that, Chelsea.Last Month: 4 (Down 8 places)
NO.11: MOHAMED SALAH
4. Salah Mohamed Salah has taken his time adapting to life in the Premier League with Chelsea.He made amends on his first start however, playing an hour against StokeCity, scoring a goal, winning a penalty and earning the Man of the Match award in the process.Hopefully, the Egyptian will go from strength to strength and can climb back up this classement.Last Month: 14 (Up 3 places)
NO.10: DIDIER DROGBA
9. Drogba March saw Didier Drogba return to StamfordBridge with Galatasaray as the Turkish giants contested a Last 16 Champions League tie with Chelsea.Unfortunately, the grand homecoming that the Ivorian had surely been hoping for didn’t quite materialise.Instead of Drogba, it was Samuel Eto’o that stole the show, the Cameroonian forward opened the scoring in the early moments—Chelsea never looked back.Last Month: 9 (Down 1 place)
NO.9: PETER ODEMWINGIE
8153013 What a return to form for Odemwingie.After the catastrophic end to life at West Bromwich Albion and an anonymous stint at CardiffCity, the Nigerian has been revitalised under Mark Hughes.Since the beginning of March, the forward has scored four and been Man of the Match on two occasions.It’s little wonder that the calls are increasing for him to make a return to the Nigeria team ahead of the sojourn to Brazil.

*New Entry*

NO.8: MEHDI BENATIA
benatia More consistent excellence from Mehdi Benatia as the defender retains the eighth place on this list for the third consecutive month.Roma have been unbeaten since early March and, since the last AFS ranking, have picked up maximum points when Benatia has been playing.Manchester United lead the pack of clubs craving his signature.Last Month: 8 (No Movement)
NO.7: PIERRE EMERICK AUBAMEYANG
2. Aubameyang An assist against Stuttgart aside, there’s not been too much to write home about for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang over the last month.The one great positive is that he’s playing regularly at Dortmund, but the side were defeated in their first-round battle against Real Madrid and also lost to Zenit and Gladbach.In general, Aubameyang is struggling to recreate his excellent form of late January and early February.Last Month: 2 (Down 5 places)
NO.6: EMMANUEL EMENIKE
7. Emenike Emenike takes his place as Africa’s pre-eminent young striker this week—overtaking Aubameyang in the process—after a fine month.He scored in three consecutive matches and also contributed an assist in the 3-0 victory against Bursaspor at the end of the month.Expect Emenike’s stock to rise at the World Cup this summer.Last Month: 6 (No Movement)
NO.5: SAMUEL ETO’O
12. Etoo Since a stunning showing against Spurs in early March, Eto’o was been in scintillating form, reaffirming his credentials as a big-game player and an elite striker.Early goals against both Galatasaray and Arsenal effectively decided both of those contests and it is perhaps no coincidence that Chelsea have lost momentum—losing games against Stoke and PSG—since the Indomitable Lion has been injured.Last Month: 16 (Up 11 places)
NO.4: GERVINHO
6. Gervinho Gervinho’s impact in Serie A isn’t as explosive as it was, say, at the end of January and the beginning of February, but he has still been making consistent contributions to Roma’s excellent form.He assisted goals against Udinese and Cagliari, as well as (twice) in the 2-1 victory over Torino.He scored in victories over Chievo and Parma and, along with Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, can be part of a devastating forward line for the Cote d’Ivoire this summer.Last Month: 5 (Up 1 place)
NO.3: KWADWO ASAMOAH
10. Kwadwo Kwadwo Asamoah continued his excellent season with some fine performances as Juventus enjoyed another successful month.The Bianconeri five points ahead of Roma with a game in hand and look to be tearing towards the Europa League title.Beyond the qualities that have made him so celebrated throughout the season, Kojo has expressed himself superbly over the last 30 days—mesmerising with his dribbling ability and technical skills.Last Month: 7 (Up 4 places)
NO.2: VINCENT ENYEAMA
3. Enyeama Another fine month for Africa’s top goalkeeper.There have been shut-outs against both Nantes and Guingamp, and only conceded against Toulouse when Le TFC scored with the last kick of the game.He remains the standard-bearer for those in his position emerging from the continent.Last Month: 3 (Up 1 place)
NO.1: YAYA TOURE
Yaya Toure Since the last AFS classement, Yaya Toure, our top dog, has enjoyed another superb month.It began with disappointment, as Manchester City were dumped out of the Champions League, but the Ivorian has responded well.He scored a hat-trick in the demolition of relegation-threatened Fulham, found the net again in the rout of Manchester United and demonstrated his composure from the spot against Southampton.Beyond his goals, the Elephant has continued to play an influential role from the heart of the midfield and remains capable of doing things that few others from the continent can.

Last Month: 1 (No Movement)

 

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