Wednesday Dec 25, 2019. 09:00
As the end of 2019 draws ever closer, we pick an African XI (plus seven subs) from the top performers – for both club and country – in 2019. The team lines up in a fluid and attacking 4-3-3 formation.
Goalkeeper: Andre Onana – Cameroon & Ajax
Arguably the best African goalkeeper of his generation, it’s little wonder that Andre Onana has been linked with moves to major European powers such as Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur.
Right-back: Achraf Hakimi – Morocco & Borussia Dortmund
Though he has played in much more attacking roles this season, Hakimi is a very capable right-back who would add energy and pace down the flank for this team.
Centre-back: Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal & Napoli
The Senegalese powerhouse remains one of the very best in the business and will surely leave Napoli in a big-money move sometime in 2020.
Centre-back: Joel Matip – Cameroon & Liverpool
Picked in this team because he dovetails beautifully with Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool and would do the same with Koulibaly in this line-up.
Left-back: Youssouf Sabaly – Senegal & Bordeaux
Not a natural left-back, but versatile enough to be comfortable in the role. Sabaly enjoyed a fine 2019, particularly for Senegal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Midfield: Ismael Bennacer – Algeria & Empoli/AC Milan
The player of the tournament at the 2019 AFCON is an obvious inclusion for this XI. If Milan can find some consistency and deploy him in his favoured position, Bennacer will soon shine on the club stage too.
Midfield: Wilfred Ndidi – Nigeria & Leicester City
Perhaps the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League, Wilfred Ndidi does such incredible but often undervalued and unrecognised work. He’d be the perfect link between defence and attack for this XI.
Midfield: Hakim Ziyech – Morocco & Ajax
With Ndidi and Bennacer playing slightly deeper, that gives the maverick and creative Hakim Ziyech the freedom to play as a pseudo number 10 and provide the ammunition for our deadly front three.
Forward: Mohamed Salah – Egypt & Liverpool
Goals, assists, speed and style – what’s not to love about Mohamed Salah for either Egypt or Liverpool? He’s an obvious pick for this side.
Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Gabon & Arsenal
While Arsenal have floundered through 2019, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has continued to score consistently and represents the level of excellence the rest of his Gunners teammates should be aiming for.
Forward: Sadio Mane – Senegal & Liverpool
Another obvious pick given his superb form and outstanding achievements for both club and country through the year. The scary thing is we have a feeling Mane will go even bigger and better in 2020!
Goalkeeper: Denis Onyango – Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns
Defender: Djamel Benlamri – Algeria & Al-Shabab
Midfielder: Thomas Partey – Ghana & Atletico Madrid
Midfielder/winger: Youcef Belaili – Algeria & Esperance de Tunis/Al Ahli Saudi
Midfielder/winger: Riyad Mahrez – Algeria & Manchester City
Forward: Odion Ighalo – Nigeria & Shanghai Shenua
Forward: Mbwana Samatta – Tanzania & Genk