Thursday Dec 24, 2020. 10:00
African midfielders have proved pivotal to winning football games both on the continent and international scene. AfricanFootball.com takes a look at the top five African midfield maestros in 2020.
5. Wilfred Ndidi – Nigeria
The Nigeria international established himself as one of the top defensive midfielders in the Premier League during the 2019/20 season in which he helped Leicester City finish fifth in the league and they narrowly missed out on a UEFA Champions League spot – scoring twice and providing one assist.
Known for his defensive prowess and long-range strikes, Ndidi, who has had to overcome his injury problems, is a key player for Leicester as the former English champions look to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League and UEFA Europa League titles in the current season.
4. Franck Kessie – Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast international re-established himself as one of the top central midfielders in the Italian Serie A during the 2019/20 campaign and he is the heartbeat of the AC Milan midfield, having netted four times as Rossoneri qualified for this season’s UEFA Europa League.
An energetic midfielder, with good defensive and attacking qualities, Kessie had a great start to the 2020/21 season – scoring four goals and registering three assists in the first 10 league matches and he has been very influential for current Serie A log leaders Milan, who have also qualified for the Europa League Round of 32.
3. Hakim Ziyech – Morocco
The Morocco International is considered to be one of the best-attacking midfielders in the world and he was Ajax Amsterdam’s best player during the 2019/20 season which saw him score nine goals and provide 18 assists in the Dutch Eredivisie and UEFA Champions League.
Known for his finishing, dribbling, long passes, technique, and ability from free-kicks, Ziyech joined Chelsea prior to the start of the current campaign and he has hit the ground running – netting twice and providing three assists from 12 competitive games as the English giants eye Champions league and Premier League glory.
2. Naby Keita – Guinea
The new Guinea captain has struggled with injures since he joined Liverpool FC from German side RB Leipzig in June 2018, but they did not stop him from contributing towards the English giants’ success in the 2019/20 season as they clinched the Premier League title, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
A dynamic and world-class box-to-box central midfielder, Keita scored four goals in 27 competitive matches for the Reds last season and he has already played 11 games this term for the Reds, who are expected to mount a serious challenge for the UEFA Champions League title and also look to defend their Premier League trophy.
1. Thomas Partey – Ghana
The Ghana vice-captain is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and the 2019/20 season proved to be his best season as he missed only three games in Spanish La Liga – scoring twice and also played a key role in helping Atletico Madrid eliminate defending champions Liverpool FC from the UEFA Champions League.
Known for his composure on the ball, good vision, amazing defensive awareness and great passing ability, Partey joined Arsenal in a transfer worth £45 million, becoming the most expensive Ghanaian player of all time and the English giants are hoping that he can help revive the club in the 2020/21 season.