Tuesday Jun 30, 2020. 11:00
After what seems like a lifetime, the world of sport is regaining its momentum – LaLiga is making a comeback, promising a whole new football experience for fans. Backed with virtualisation of stands and fan audio, the Spanish football league is gearing up for the African Game, a matchup between Mallorca and Celta Vigo that is sure to showcase the formidable skillset of African players and those of African descent.
Both Mallorca and Celta Vigo have housed African legends. Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, for example, is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world and one of the greatest African players of his time, having won the “African Player of the Year” award four times. Another prolific African player is Benni McCarthy who contributed to Celta’s victory of the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2000. While both may be retired today, their legacy continues to fuel the desire of other African players in their journey to reach the big leagues. Bafana Bafana star Bongani Zungu also came close to signing for Mallorca in the January transfer window in a move that had all South Africans holding their breath. Hopefully, the transfer can be finalised in the upcoming window.
Currently, in 18th position on the log, the team has everything to prove. Luckily for Mallorca, Abdul Rahman Baba, Lumor Agbenyenu, Lago Junior and Iddrisu will be gracing the field with their skillset and dedication.
Ghanaian professional footballer, Baba Rahman made his international debut in 2014, with his team ranking second at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. After picking up a serious knee injury in September, it looked like the 25-year-old wouldn’t play again this season. However, the coronavirus pandemic, which put a halt to football across Europe, has given him a chance to impress before the expiration of the year-long loan.
Lumor Agbenyenu, also from Ghana, made his debut for the Ghana National Football Team in a
5–0 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification win over Ethiopia in 2017. In LaLiga, he has made 20 appearances for Mallorca and will hope for a good defensive performance to stop the Celta Vigo attack.
Lago Junior has been with LaLiga since 2009, making his debut appearance in a game against Atlético Madrid. He was a constant disruptor of Madrid’s defence when he scored the winner back in October.
Lastly, Iddrisu Baba scored his first senior goal on 8 May 2016, netting the opener in a 2–1 home win against CF Platges de Calvià. He has been turning heads with his fine displays in the middle of the park for the Vermilions this season and will hope to inspire his side for a much-needed win on Tuesday.
Celta Vigo currently sits at the 17th position in the log, and after a brief absence, were promoted into LaLiga in 2012. The spotlight will, however, be on Pione Sisto, Joseph Aidoo and Pape Cheikh as they push to get Celta Vigo to the top of the league.
Sisto began his professional career with FC Midtjylland of the Danish Superliga league, making 113 total appearances and scoring 31 goals over five seasons. His last goal in the league came just before the break where he netted a winner in stoppage time against Sevilla in February.
Ghanaian, Joseph Aidoo was nominated in the category “Defender of the Year” in the Ghana Premier League in 2013/14, before making the jump to Europe. He has put in solid performances since the restart which were rewarded with three clean sheets in 5 matches.
Lastly, Pape Cheikh scored the winning goal against Granada CF in 2016, making him a valuable asset to Los Bermellones. This season the loanee has made 15 appearances and will want to put in a solid performance, in hopes of making his loan, permanent.
Armed with an arsenal of exceptional players, their battle to stay in the rankings will prove to be action-packed and will have supporters glued to their screens.
What to look out for in the 2019/2020 season
All eyes will be on 15-year-old Luka Romero. At 15 years and 219 days old, he is the youngest player ever to join LaLiga and made his debut on 24 June 2020 playing for Mallorca. He takes the record from Francisco Bao Rodriguez who was 15 years and 255 days old when he made his debut with Celta Vigo in 1939.
After being scouted at one of LaLiga’s youth camps, he joined the training programme a month ago and skipped right passed the B team selections. He has been compared to Lionel Messi, and if his current progress is any indication of his potential, he is definitely a player to watch.
To keep up with all the latest LaLiga action, stay tuned to SuperSport 7 on DStv channel 207 – Tuesday, 30 June at 19:30 CAT.
Content supplied by LaLiga