AFCON: African Premier League Stars Join Up With National Teams

Hours after Sadio Mane scored against his countryman, Edouard Mendy in a top-drawer Premier League clash between Liverpool and Chelsea, both men got on the plane to honour their nation’s AFCON call.

The Senegalese stars played strong parts in the stalemate at the Stamford Bridge as Chelsea came back from behind to snatch a draw against the Reds. Egyptian star, Mo Salah was also on the scoresheet in the game as he heads to the AFCON in a rich vein of form.

Guinean midfielder, Naby Keita also featured in the clash and had a solid performance for Liverpool as he hopes to win the AFCON trophy as ordered by interim President, Col. Mamady Doumbouya.

Mane pounced on poor defending from Sierra-Leone-born Chelsea defender, Trevoh Chalobah before slotting one past his compatriot, as early as the 9th minute. The game was put better in Liverpool’s stead when Salah, fed from a Trent Alexander Arnold pass scored a beautiful goal. Mendy prevented Liverpool from increasing the gap on a number of occasions before Chelsea powered back into the fixture with a beautiful Mateo Kovacic goal. 

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Christian Pulisic restored parity in the 45th minute as both sides failed to grab another goal in the second half. Mendy and Mane were pictured on the plane on Monday morning as they head to their Senegalese camp, in preparation for the AFCON.

Other Africans who gave good accounts of themselves were Burnley’s Maximilian Cornet, Arsenal’s Thomas Partey, Nigeria’s Frank Onyeka and others. 

Cornet’s thumping free kick wasn’t enough to prevent Burnley from suffering a 3-1 defeat in the hands of Leeds but it was a goal that’d have put the player in a good condition ahead of Ivory Coast’s quest for the continental prize. 

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Partey was also in a dominant form against Man City as he saved his best performance of the season so far for the eve of his exit to the AFCON. He proved a pivotal figure for the Gunners in their controversial 2-1 loss to Manchester City. The Ghana star shone brightly in Arsenal’s midfield and was joined later in the game by Egyptian, Mohammed ElNeny.

Ghanaian duo, Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew also featured for Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Senegal’s Cheikh Kouyate also involved. Algeria’s Said Benrahma was also involved for West Ham in the encounter.

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Onyeka also played a key role in Brentford’s 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa as he heads to Nigeria for preparations ahead of the AFCON.

Watford attacker Emmanuel Dennis came out injured in the first half of Watford’s clash against Tottenham as the Hornets face public backlash over failure to release him for AFCON.  

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