afs-top-20-mar14

AFS 20: March 2014

Published On 10/03/2014 | By AFS Staff | Africa, AFS Top 20, Exclusives, Features, Top Stories

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: AHMED MUSA
13. Musa Musa scored in CSKA Moscow’s 2-0 victory over Sokol Saratov in early March and also looked lively for an hour during Nigeria’s 0-0 friendly draw with Mexico.Inactivity during February has seen Musa drop down these rankings, but if the youngster rediscover his form and fitness over the coming weeks and months, then he could be a key man for the Super Eagles during the summer.This current extended period in Stephen Keshi’s first XI indicates the high esteem the manager reserves for the attacking starlet.Last Month: 13 (Down 7 places)
NO.19: WILFRIED BONY
17. Bony Bony didn’t quite kick on during February quite as we hoped he would.His awesome goal-scoring form in January appeared to indicate that the Ivorian had finally found his feet in England and was about to hit a purple patch with Swansea.Unfortunately, that has quite materialised and Bony hasn’t quite managed to kick on under new Swans boss Garry Monk.He still managed to find the net twice, in defeat against Liverpool and in the 3-0 victory in the Wales derby with Cardiff City.Last Month: 17 (Down 2 places)
NO.18: SULLEY MUNTARI
15. Muntari A disappointing month for the tenacious Milan midfielder.Muntari was suspended for fixtures in both the Champions League and Serie A, but did manage to contribute in the 1-1 draw with Torino on February 1.Entered as a substitute in Ghana’s recent 1-0 defeat to Montenegro in an international friendly.Last Month: 15 (Down 3 places)
NO.17: SOFIANE FEGHOULI
feghouli Feghouli may have missed Algeria’s victory over Slovenia following dental surgery, but his form for Valencia over the last month augers well for the World Cup.Between February 1 and March 9 he was responsible for four assists and scored twice himself.He was in particularly impressive form during Valencia’s unlikely 3-2 victory over Barcelona and helped to orchestrate the 5-0 mauling of Real Betis.*New Entry*
NO.16: SAMUEL ETO’O
12. Etoo He may have scored, earned the Man of the Match award and delighted the crowd with his celebrations, but the truth is that Samuel Eto’o was fairly underwhelming throughout February.He was present for Chelsea’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester City, but was hauled off, and only made a late entrance against Galatasaray in the Champions League as Didier Drogba largely stole the show.Perhaps his greatest achievement might actually have been successfully enjoying an international break with Cameroon without causing great controversy.Last Month: 12 (Down 4 places)
NO.15: NICOLAS N’KOULOU
11. Nkoulou Present for the demolition at the hands of Portugal, N’Koulou also suffered the ignominy of successive defeats with Marseille, against Nice and, crucially, PSG.N’Koulou was, however, Man of the Match as Marseille secured a tight 1-0 victory against Lorient. He scored in the 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne and looked imperious in OM’s 3-0 victory over SC Bastia.Surely set for bigger and better things this summer.Last Month: 11 (Down 4 places)
NO.14: MOHAMED SALAH
4. Salah Unlike Christian Atsu, the young Ghanaian winger who was shipped off to Holland on loan as soon as he arrived at Chelsea, Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah has been kept at Stamford Bridge and given the opportunity to integrate into Jose Mourinho’s first XI.His talent means that, one day, he surely will receive his chance with the Blues, but his early start at the club has been fairly inauspicious.He is yet to start, and his finest moment over the last few weeks came in the international friendly against Bosnia when he scored a fine goal.Last Month: 4 (Down 10 places)
NO.13: SERGE AURIER
19. Aurier Serge Aurier has been a regular in the Africa Football Shop Team of the Week feature that we release every seven days.He has emerged as one of the outstanding young defenders in Ligue 1 and has enjoyed yet another excellent month of action.He scored and delivered a Man of the Match display in the 2-2 draw with Marseille and also set-up a goal in Le TFC’s recent 2-0 triumph over Nice.His versatility, especially at such a young age, is a huge asset to both club and country. While he seems to have nailed-down the right-back berth for the Cote d’Ivoire, Toulouse seem keen to utilise their man in a number of different berths.

Last Month: 19 (Up 6 places)

NO.12: JOHN OBI MIKEL
5. Mikel Where does the acquisition of Nemanja Matic leave John Obi Mikel?That was the question the team at Africa Football Shop were asking at the end of the January transfer window. A month down the line, it has become abundantly clear that the Nigerian will be playing second fiddle to the new man from Benfica.In truth, few of us can complain about Mourinho’s decision-making. The new boy is quicker, stronger and, arguably, more assertive than Mikel.The Nigerian’s inactivity resulted in him looking fairly rusty for the Super Eagles in their recent friendly with Mexico. The future, to say the least, looks murky.

Last Month: 5 (Down 7 places)

NO.11: ADEL TAARABT
taarabt Another new entry is Adel Taarabt, who just misses out on the Top 10 in his debut appearance in the AFS 20.The Moroccan was an unlikely recruit for Milan and new boss Clarence Seedorf during the January window, but so far the playmaker has looked like an inspired purchase.He scored a wonder goal on his debut against Napoli, dovetailed impressively with Kaka in the Champions League and also won a Man of the Match award in Milan’s 2-0 away victory over Sampdoria.*New Entry*
NO.10: SALOMON KALOU
Kalou Ajaccio may be propping up the Ligue 1 table, but it still took considerable skill to dispatch them as effectively as Salomon Kalou did on March 2.The Ivorian bagged a hat-trick as the Corsican side were dispatched 3-2.Kalou has matured greatly as a player since moving to France, and the team at Africa Football Shop are excited by the rumours linking him with a potential switch back to the Premier League.*New Entry*
NO.9: DIDIER DROGBA
Didier Drogba At the beginning of February and the beginning of March, Didier Drogba was involved in two mammoth Galatasaray victories.He scored twice as Gala demolished Belediyespor this weekend, and was also influential a month ago, scoring once and contributing an assist as Bursaspor were trounced.In last week’s friendly match against Belgium he was also in irresistible form, entering the game late but changing the complexion of the contest with a goal.The Elephants managed to pull back from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw.

Last Month: 9 (No Movement)

NO.8: MEHDI BENATIA
benatia It’s not been a great month for Mehdi Benatia and his fellow Roma defenders.The Moroccan and his team-mates conceded five goals in two games against Napoli and, at times, looked exposed.A few disappointing games don’t, however, detract too much from the North African’s superb early season form.At Africa Football Shop we back Benatia and the rest of the Roma defence to enjoy a strong end to the Serie A campaign.Last Month: 8 (No Movement)
NO.7: KWADWO ASAMOAH
10. Kwadwo Does anyone out there still doubt that Kwadwo Asmoah is the real deal?Anyone who does should watch the midfielder’s Man-of-the-Match performance in Juventus’s closely-fought 1-0 victory over Fiorentina in Serie A…they’ll understand quickly why the Ghanaian finds himself in the AFS Top 10.Asamoah starred throughout February and was also instrumental in victories over Torino and Chievo.Last Month: 10 (Up 3 places)
NO.6: EMMANUEL EMENIKE
7. Emenike Emenike continues to extend his reputation as one of Africa’s finest forwards.As he revealed in an interview with FIFA.com, the Nigerian striker is enjoying his football and relishing life at Fenerbahce, having left Russia in the summer.He is a key man in Stephen Keshi’s Nigeria set-up and the Big Boss’s confidence in his striker has meant that in-form Villarreal man Ike Uche can’t even get a sniff of the Super Eagles squad.Last Month: 7 (Up 1 place)
NO.5: GERVINHO
6. Gervinho Two defeats against Napoli have rather undermined another impressive month for Roma.Gervinho hasn’t quite been at his electric best, but neither have his team-mates.He still managed an assist against Sampdoria and few, if any African players, would be capable of matching his stunning showing against Napoli at the beginning of the month, when he scored twice and took home the well-deserved Man of the Match award.Last Month: 6 (Up 1 place)
NO.4: EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR
adebayor What a revival!Emmanuel Adebayor wasn’t considered for the inaugural AFS 20 at the beginning of the year, but as his terrific performances have shown little sign of abating, he has become impossible to ignore.The Togolese forward looks like a new man under Tim Sherwood and is currently in the form of his life.He scored the winner against Everton, the only goal of the game, almost single-handedly dragged Spurs past Dnipro in the Europa League, and also scored twice (and was Man of the Match) in the demolition of Newcastle United.

*New Entry*

NO.3: VINCENT ENYEAMA
3. Enyeama Two clean sheets over February isn’t quite as awesome as his early season almost-record-breaking form, but Enyeama still remains a key player for Lille and one of Ligue 1’s star men.His finest recent performance, however, came for Nigeria during the international friendly against Mexico when he made a number of critical saves.How important could he be in Brazil this summer?Last Month: 3 (No Movement)
NO.2: PIERRE EMERICK AUBAMEYANG
2. Aubameyang Dortmund greatly improved their form over February and their Gabonese star Pierre Emerick Aubameyang looked to be in fine fettle.The striker hasn’t quite managed to retain the imperious goal-scoring form he demonstrated earlier in the season, but he has performed well on the right flank and is learning to add different qualities to his game.He scored twice in the demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt and looks likely to be BVB’s key man following the imminent departure of Robert Lewandowski.Last Month: 2 (No Movement)
NO.1: YAYA TOURE
Yaya Toure Yaya Toure remains at the top of our AFS 20 following another fine month of action.Anyone questioning the Ivorian’s capabilities need just watch his game-changing, trophy-winning goal against Sunderland in the League Cup final. It was an audacious attempt, a finish of no little panache and precision which changed the tide of the contest in Manchester City’s direction and brought the cup back to Eastlands.Toure was also outstanding in the Citizens’ victory over Stoke on February 22, scoring once and winning the Man of the Match award.Who can unseat Toure from the top of the AFS 20?

Last Month: 1 (No Movement)

 

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