Edouard Mendy became the first African goalkeeper to play for Chelsea when he made his debut at Tottenham last night, and his arrival completes a formidable XI of Blues stars to either hail from or play for an African nation.
The Senegalese looked assured on debut and made a couple of very good saves, earning praise from Frank Lampard after the game. Mendy is certainly aware he is following in some illustrious footsteps wearing the famous rampant lion. ‘Most of the biggest African talent has played for this team,’ he proudly observed after putting pen to paper at Chelsea. ‘Drogba, Essien, Eto’o, Mikel…’.
Born in Paris but a regular between the sticks for the Lions of Teranga, Mendy can now take his place in an all-time African XI comprised of Chelsea players. It is one which should guarantee plenty of goals, and contains a pretty useful-looking bench, too!
Subs: Aina, Rahman, Moses, Traore, Ba, Salah, Ziyech.
We have used a 3-4-3 formation to get the best out of the players at our disposal, and who better to marshal the defence than our former captain Marcel ‘The Rock’ Desailly, a proud Ghanaian who enjoyed such success with France at the 1998 World Cup, and then Euro 2000.
Either side of him are the versatile Cameroonian and twice Premier League winner Geremi, and Celestine Babayaro, the talented Nigerian who joined us as a teenager in 1997.
Helping protect them are Kinshasha-born Claude Makelele and John Mikel Obi, who has often played further forward for the Super Eagles than he did the Blues. Michael Essien, an all-time Black Stars great, adds extra dynamism to a midfield that will make this a tough team to break down. When Geremi and Babayaro are able to get forward, they can slot in to help out Desailly at the back.
Such is the depth of attacking African class at our disposal, we have positioned Ivorian Salomon Kalou at the tip of the diamond, and given him the luxury to float out to the wings as he sees fit.
He will help supply arguably the three greatest African strikers of all time: Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and George Weah.
Drogba’s 46 goals for Cote d’Ivoire during his time at Stamford Bridge is a record number for an international representing us, and he is flanked by the current Liberian president George Weah, who played for us in 2000, and Samuel Eto’o, the Indomitable Lion who was a four-time African Player of the Year winner. Goals, goals, goals!
That leaves the bench. There are defensive options in the shape of Nigerian Ola Aina and Ghanaian Baba Rahman, while Victor Moses could prove useful in a right-sided position. Burkinabe Bertrand Traore has recently joined Aston Villa, while Mohamed Salah has shown his class in the last few years at Liverpool, even if we didn’t see the best of the Egyptian at Stamford Bridge. Senegalese Demba Ba was always a useful option off the bench for the Blues, while Hakim Ziyech, who hails from Morocco, will be pushing for a start in this side when he is up and running.
What do you make of our XI? Who would be in your best African Chelsea side? Head to the 5th Stand to comment and discuss with your fellow fans!