- Africa has constantly produced nice goalkeepers
- Spherical 2 of CAF qualifiers for Qatar 2022 is simply months away
- FIFA.com turns the highlight on 5 of Africa’s high keepers
From Badou Zaki to Thomas Nkono, and Bruce Grobbelaar to Essam El Hadary and Joseph-Antoine Bell, Africa has constantly produced nice goalkeepers. Their heroics within the final line of defence haven’t solely secured their place within the historical past of African soccer however have additionally impressed a complete era of gamers.
Whereas many youngsters rising up on the continent nonetheless dream of turning into the following Roger Milla, Samuel Eto’o, Rabah Madjer, Nwankwo Kanu or Didier Drogba, nowadays many others aspire to be a hero between the posts. It’s no shock to see increasingly more African keepers bursting onto the scene in elite soccer.
With the second spherical of CAF qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ simply months away, FIFA.com turned the highlight on 5 of Africa’s high keepers, who’re – and hope to stay – on the forefront of their groups’ ambitions.
Yassine Bounou (Morocco/Sevilla)
At 29, Yassine Bounou, or just ‘Bono’, has been round for a while. Canadian born, he minimize his tooth with the youth groups of Wydad Casablanca, the place he made his first workforce debut in 2010 and progressed alongside the membership’s legendary keeper Nadir Lamyaghri. He was a starter within the 2011 CAF Champions League closing, which the membership misplaced to Esperance de Tunis, earlier than shifting the next 12 months to Atletico Madrid. Denied first-team soccer with Los Colchoneros, he would finally discover success in Spain with Actual Zaragoza and Girona, paving the way in which for his switch to Sevilla in 2019.
Second-choice behind Tomas Vaclick and used final season just for UEFA Europa League video games, the Moroccan nonetheless dazzled in serving to the Andalusian membership carry that continental title. Bono was significantly spectacular towards Manchester United within the semi-finals and Inter Milan within the closing, prompting Julen Lopetegui at hand him a beginning place at the start of the present season. The scenario is paying homage to his journey with the nationwide workforce, the place, for a few years, he was understudy to Munir. Bono would finally relegate him to the bench in 2019, since when he has been first selection for the Atlas Lions. Within the race to Qatar 2022, Moroccans shall be hoping he can assist their facet progress from a bunch containing Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.
Mohamed El Shenawy (Egypt/Al Ahly)
Mohamed El Shenawy is one other who took centre stage comparatively late in his profession. It should be mentioned, nevertheless, that his predecessor within the nationwide workforce was a sure Essam El Hadary, a colossus of African soccer who saved objective for The Pharaohs till turning 45, within the course of turning into the oldest participant to compete at a FIFA World Cup in 2018. That mentioned, El Shenawy has not being ready within the wings at membership degree, having been a mainstay of Al Ahly since 2016. Captain of the Pink Devils, he has received the final three editions of the Egyptian Premier League and was instrumental in his facet’s progress to the final 4 of this 12 months’s African Champions League earlier than its interruption as a result of COVID-19.
A starter in Egypt’s preliminary group video games of Russia 2018, he was named Man of the Match for the opening defeat to Uruguay (1-0). Now 31, and on the peak of his powers, he aspires to guide The Pharaohs to a second consecutive World Cup, beginning with a bunch stage battle towards Gabon, Libya and Angola.
Edouard Mendy (Senegal/Chelsea)
It is onerous to imagine now, however 28-year-old Edouard Mendy solely signed his first skilled contract in 2016. The membership in query was Stade de Reims, who lastly gave the participant an opportunity after seasons within the decrease leagues and a brief stint in Marseille’s reserve workforce. After three years there with no few clear sheets, reflex saves and commanding forays off his line, the 1.97m custodian moved to Rennes. It was no coincidence that, with the Senegalese in objective final 12 months, the Bretons loved their finest ever season, culminating in a maiden UEFA Champions League qualification. As destiny would have it, Mendy will get to expertise that event, however within the colors of Chelsea, who secured his providers in the newest switch window.
His progress with the nationwide has been no much less dramatic. Handed his first cap in November 2018, he was already within the beginning XI for the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations a number of months later. A finger damage sidelined him for the latter stage of the competitors, wherein the Lions of Teranga misplaced to Algeria within the closing. With Sadio Mane banging within the targets and Mendy stopping them, Senegal have their sights firmly set on a spot at Qatar 2022 and can face Congo, Namibia and Togo within the second spherical.
Andre Onana (Cameroon/Ajax)
After Nkono, Bell, Jacques Songo’o and Carlos Kameni, Cameroon seem to have discovered one other goalkeeping phenomenon. Having gone by the Samuel Eto’o Academy and La Masia at Barcelona, Andre Onana made his skilled debut with Dutch giants Ajax. An everyday starter from the age of twenty-two following the departure of Jasper Cillessen, he was a part of the thrilling younger workforce that made it to the semi-final of the 2019 Champions League, the place they’d lose in dramatic trend to Tottenham. En path to the last-four, Onana thwarted the appreciable attacking abilities of Actual Madrid and Juventus, amongst others.
Extensively thought to be one of the crucial gifted keepers in Europe, he was a logical option to be Kameni’s successor at nationwide degree, regardless of competitors from Fabrice Ondoa. To return to the world stage in 2022, the Indomitable Lions shall be relying on Onana’s dependability in a bunch that includes Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Malawi.
Denis Onyango (Uganda/Mamelodi Sundowns)
At 35, Denis Onyango is without doubt one of the most dependable keepers in African soccer, even when he’s not a family identify past the continent. But regardless of that, the CV of the Mamelodi Sundowns custodian exhibits he was voted Africa-based Participant of the Yr in 2016 after profitable that 12 months’s CAF Champions League and taking part within the FIFA Membership World Cup. On high of that, he has picked up South African Premier League profitable medals in every of the final three seasons.
Very assured in one-on-ones, and infrequently good at stopping penalties, the Uganda captain is aware of the clock is ticking if the remainder of the soccer world is to find and admire his abilities. A significant element of the Cranes‘ qualification for the Cup of Nations in 2017 – their first since 1978 – and 2019, he would dearly like to characterize his nation at a World Cup. To take action, step one shall be to high a second-round group wherein Mali, Kenya and Rwanda await.