- Africa has persistently produced nice goalkeepers
- Round 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 persistently produced nice goalkeepers. Their heroics in the final line of defence haven’t solely secured their place in the historical past of African soccer however have additionally impressed a complete era of gamers.
While many children rising up on the continent nonetheless dream of changing into the subsequent Roger Milla, Samuel Eto’o, Rabah Madjer, Nwankwo Kanu or Didier Drogba, as of late many others aspire to be a hero between the posts. It isn’t any 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 – at 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 crew debut in 2010 and progressed alongside the membership’s legendary keeper Nadir Lamyaghri. He was a starter in the 2011 CAF Champions League closing, which the membership misplaced to Esperance de Tunis, earlier than shifting the following 12 months to Atletico Madrid. Denied first-crew soccer with Los Colchoneros, he would finally discover success in Spain with Real Zaragoza and Girona, paving the way 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 elevate that continental title. Bono was significantly spectacular in opposition to Manchester United in the semi-finals and Inter Milan in the closing, prompting Julen Lopetegui handy him a beginning place at the starting of the present season. The scenario is harking back to his journey with the nationwide crew, 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. In the race to Qatar 2022, Moroccans might be hoping he will help their aspect progress from a gaggle 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 have to be stated, nevertheless, that his predecessor in the nationwide crew was a sure Essam El Hadary, a colossus of African soccer who saved purpose for The Pharaohs till turning 45, in the course of changing into the oldest participant to compete at a FIFA World Cup in 2018. That stated, El Shenawy has not being ready in the wings at membership degree, having been a mainstay of Al Ahly since 2016. Captain of the Red Devils, he has gained the final three editions of the Egyptian Premier League and was instrumental in his aspect’s progress to the final 4 of this 12 months’s African Champions League earlier than its interruption because 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 at the peak of his powers, he aspires to steer The Pharaohs to a second consecutive World Cup, beginning with a gaggle stage battle in opposition to Gabon, Libya and Angola.
Edouard Mendy (Senegal/Chelsea)
It’s exhausting to imagine now, however 28-12 months-previous 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 in the decrease leagues and a brief stint in Marseille’s reserve crew. 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 purpose 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 match, however in the colors of Chelsea, who secured his companies in the most up-to-date switch window.
His progress with the nationwide has been no much less dramatic. Handed his first cap in November 2018, he was already in the beginning XI for the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations a number of months later. A finger harm sidelined him for the latter stage of the competitors, by which the Lions of Teranga misplaced to Algeria in the closing. With Sadio Mane banging in 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 in 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 via 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 crew that made it to the semi-closing of the 2019 Champions League, the place they’d lose in dramatic trend to Tottenham. En path to the final-4, Onana thwarted the appreciable attacking abilities of Real Madrid and Juventus, amongst others.
Widely thought to be one among the most 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 might be relying on Onana’s dependability in a gaggle that includes Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Malawi.
Denis Onyango (Uganda/Mamelodi Sundowns)
At 35, Denis Onyango is one among the most dependable keepers in African soccer, even when he’s not a family title past the continent. Yet regardless of that, the CV of the Mamelodi Sundowns custodian reveals he was voted Africa-based Player of the Year in 2016 after successful that 12 months’s CAF Champions League and taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup. On high of that, he has picked up South African Premier League successful medals in every of the final three seasons.
Very assured in a single-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 recognize 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 accomplish that, the first step might be to high a second-spherical group by which Mali, Kenya and Rwanda await.