The African Football HQ Team of the Week returns with a Belgian flair as players from Gent, Charleroi and Club Brugge featured.
GK- Wayne Sandilands (Pirates & SA)
A veteran of many battles, Sandilands proved his pedigree again by putting up a master shift in a crucial battle for the last Continental slot in the Premier Soccer League, stopping two penalties in the space of ten minutes from Supersport United’s Bradley Grobler and Thamsanqa Gabuza. The Bucs are still a point behind Matsasatanta and three behind Bidvest Wits, however, Sandilands has put a wind in their sails that could propel them in the last two games.
DF- Michael Ngadeu-Njadgui (Gent & Cameroon)
A pivotal part of the failed title bid last season, the 2017 AFCON Winner brought back memories of his class and astute defending as he helped Gent to a 1-0 win at the weekend against KV Mechelen. Yet to replace the Goals and industry of Jonathan David, the defence recovered from its rudderless state in the first three games to earn the first win with Ngadeu marshalling the lines like a General.
DF- Rami Bouchniba (AS Soliman & Tunisia)
AS Soliman had failed to beat Club Africain in three previous meetings. Hence, when Rami Bouchniba put them on the way with a fine header, they never looked back. The defender would prove effective at both ends, throwing everything by repelling attempts as the opposition sought a way through. If Club Africain were the Mycenaeans, Bouchniba was Hector, holding fort the Trojan wall of Soliman
DF- Hassane Kamara (OGC Nice & Gambia)
Eligible for Gambia, Hassane Kamara has been one of the early revelations of Patrick Vieira’s Nice, bombing down the flanks by supplementing Amine Gouiri offensively and proving astute defensively. A key part of David Guion’s Reims, Kamara shunned Strasbourg’s Kenny Lala and Jean Bellegarde, a combination that worked effectively for the Alsace side last season.
MF- Mohammed Elneny (Egypt and Arsenal)
Thrust into a Community Shield battle against League Champions Liverpool on his return, El Neny played like he never left, dropping deep and keeping the team ticking. His presence offered Granit Xhaka and Kieran Tierney more license to roam forward, while Rob Holding could drift wide and shut down Sadio Mane.
MF- Mohammed Kudus (Ajax and Ghana)
20 year old Kudus plays with no fear, and while it was only a preseason friendly, Erik Ten Hag may be smiling confident that his young enigmatic midfielder will be a handful when the action begins. Kudus marshalled the midfield well, keeping the game going with well orchestrated passes and accurate movements. Tipped for the big lights, Kudus has laid down the gauntlet. All eyes are on him.
MF- Marco Ilaimaharitra (Charleroi & Madagascar)
RSC Charleroi regained their position atop the Jupiler League standings courtesy of a victory against Royal Antwerp. Ilaimahritra stood out in a midfield battle that threatened to boil over as tackles flew. The Madagascan continues to prove his worth in Bellocine’s team and has completed 90mins in all but one game.
MF- Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge & Nigeria)
The fancy of Europe’s big guns, Emmanuel Dennis may have player his last game for the Belgian Champions and with Man of the Match Performance against Genk he may have signed out in the best way possible. His assist for Hans Vanaken showed his creative side, putting to bed any thoughts that he was just a goalscorer. Anywhere he goes, Dennis’ industry would definitely prove an immense asset.
FW- Fagrie Lakay (CTC & SA)
Before the weekend, Cape Town City had yet to register a PSL hattrick in their history. That Fagrie Lakay, a once prodigious talent would be the history maker could not have been envisioned. He had failed to score in two years and was heading for the exit door at the citizens before a last shot at redemption in the Bio-Bubble. The three goal performance left Steve Komphela wondering why it was the Cape Town forward who took his motivational words to heart and not his Golden Arrows Players.
FW- Jean Pierre Nsame (Young Boys and Cameroon)
When Jean Pierre Nsame netted the equalizer against Basel in the Swiss Cup Final, it was his seventh in the competition and 41st in all competitions for the 2019/20 season. It was a poacher’s delight. Capped twice, Nsame has done all necessary to attract the attention of the Selectors of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. A bit like Patrick Mboma, It would be nigh on unforgivable if he isn’t leading the line on the Road to Qatar 2022 for the National Team.
FW- Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Arsenal)
Deadly as the Black Panther, It was only befitting that Aubameyang would score on the day of Chadwick Boseman’s passing. The finesse of the shot and the nonchalance with which the ball flew off his feet revealed a man on a different plane from the rest of the pack. He has found home on the left, enjoying the company of Kieran Tierney. Chadwick Boseman may be gone, but the Legend of the Black Panther lives on in many forms. In football, its Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.