FIRST ELVN: BEST WE NEVER HAD

It’s no secret that the continent of Africa has produced some of the world’s finest players. Players who have changed the face of the game on the continent and beyond. However, what we sometimes fail to notice is that some of the continent’s true greats -both past and present- never have, and probably never will don the national team jerseys of the African nations that birthed them. This is largely because, for some reason or another (war, unemployment, colonial ties, the search for a better life, and many more) lots of African families migrated and are migrating to other nations. This has also had its effect on the footballing world, as more than a handful of African players are born with (or eventually end up attaining) eligibility for non-African International football teams.

In this article, we shall be focusing on elvn of the greatest and most successful players, who were eligible for, at least, one African national football team, which they ended up never playing for. Without further ado, here’s the FIRST ELVN: BEST WE NEVER HAD (Players Africa missed out on). Enjoy.

Steve Mandanda:

Steve Mandanda-French National Team

The Olympique de Marseille fan-favorite and current goalie for Crystal Palace, in the English Premier League, was actually born in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His family moved to France when he was two years old and that led to him eventually representing the country on the international stage. As we’ll come to see, through this article, the mass migration of African families is what is chiefly responsible for this phenomenon. However, in Steve Mandanda’s case, it isn’t really an excuse, as two of his three brothers (all of whom are goalkeepers, coincidentally) chose to represent their country of birth, instead.

Mandanda spent 9 years at Marseille (2007 to 2016), where he won the Ligue 1 title (in the 2009/10 season), three Coupe de la Ligue titles, was voted Ligue 1 keeper of the year and made the Ligue 1 team of the year, on four different occasions, and was twice selected as the Marseille player of the season. He has also made 24 appearances for the French National Team.

(Kindly click on the numbers below, to navigate through the other entries.)

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