More than half of the 20 LaLiga teams have at least one African player in their 2018/19 squad.
The new LaLiga season should be especially exciting for football fans based in Africa, as there are so many players from the continent who’ll be competing at the highest level in Spain this year. In fact, 13 of the 20 LaLiga clubs have at least one African in their squad, while some of these teams have several.
Morocco and Ghana can both claim to have the most African players in the Spanish top division, with five each, which is a very impressive tally when considering that only eight other countries – including Spain – have more representatives in LaLiga.
Amongst the Moroccan contingent, there’s the experienced Real Betis defender Zouhair Feddal, Girona goalkeeper Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou and Leganés forwards Nabil El Zhar and Youssef En-Nesyri.
There’s also Sofiane Boufal, who has just arrived at Celta Vigo after spending the past two seasons at Southampton. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder had previously been at Lille before moving to England as the second-most expensive Moroccan ever and will be looking to shine in Galicia while on loan. With Celta expected to play direct football under new coach Antonio Mohamed, there will be plenty of opportunities for Boufal to express himself.
As for the Ghanaian quintet, they are made up of Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Teye Partey, plus Alavés midfield duo Patrick Twumasi and Mubarak Wakaso, and Levante strikers Raphael Dwamena and Emmanuel Boateng. Of course, Partey is the most high-profile of these players as he plays for one of the very best club sides in Europe and he has already made an impact this season during the UEFA Super Cup, where he created the decisive third goal for teammate Saúl Ñíguez in Los Rojiblancos’ victory over Real Madrid, becoming the first Ghanaian to win that competition. This will be the 25-year-old midfielder’s fourth season in Diego Simeone’s first-team squad and his importance has been growing with each year.
Another African nation with a significant presence in this year’s Spanish top division is Equatorial Guinea. National team striker Iban Salvador is at Celta Vigo, while Equatoguinean full-backs Sergio Akieme and Carlos Akapo will spend this season at newly promoted sides Rayo Vallecano and Huesca respectively.
Then there’s the Senegalese contingent to keep an eye on too. Abdoulaye Ba, Pape Diop and Amath Ndiaye have all joined new LaLiga clubs within the past year and they all became very important for their new sides in the 2017/18 season, with Ba helping Rayo Vallecano win promotion and with Diop and Ndiaye helping Eibar and Getafe with their respective battles for European football.
Ivorian striker, Seydou Doumbia joined the African LaLiga train following his move from Portuguese side, Sporting Lisbon to Girona on a three- year deal. The 30year old who has been capped thirty-nine times by his country was a member of the Elephants squad that won the 2015 African Cup of Nations.