COTE D’IVOIRE would be the hardest hit of the African national teams if players in a proposed new European Super League (ESL) are banned from playing international football.
The Elephants have five first-team regulars at clubs that have announced their intention to join the ESL – Serge Aurier at Tottenham; Nicolas Pepe at Arsenal; Franck Kessie at AC Milan; and Manchester United pair Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo.
Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez and Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would also miss out if world football’s governing body Fifa follows up on previous statements that any players who appear in an ESL would be banned from international tournaments such as the World Cup.
As it stands, a total of 13 African nations could lose players.
So far 12 of Europe’s top clubs have agreed to join the new ESL, including six from the English Premier League – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
The Premier League clubs will join AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Senegal could potentially lose out on three players in Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy of Chelsea, and Moussa Wague – on the books at Barcelona, though currently on loan at Greek side PAOK Salonika.
- Mohamed Salah – Egypt
- Sadio Mane – Senegal
- Naby Keita – Guinea
- Joel Matip – Cameroon
- (Taiwo Awoniyi – Nigeria – on loan at Union Berlin)
- Edouard Mendy – Senegal
- Hakim Ziyech – Morocco
- (Baba Rahman – Ghana – on loan at PAOK Salonika)
- (Victor Moses – Nigeria – on loan at Spartak Moscow)
- Riyad Mahrez – Algeria
- Eric Bailly -Cote d’Ivoire
- Amad Diallo – Cote d’Ivoire
- Serge Aurier – Cote d’Ivoire
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Gabon
- Thomas Partey – Ghana
- Nicolas Pepe – Cote d’Ivoire
- Mohamed El Neny – Egypt
- Ismael Bennacer – Algeria
- Franck Kessie – Cote d’Ivoire
- Geoffrey Kondogbia – Central African Republic
(Moussa Wague – Senegal – on loan at PAOK Salonika)
- Achraf Hakimi – Morocco
- Hamza Rafia – Tunisia (in Juve’s junior side)