Africans in the Barclays Premier League

The Barclays Premier League has been seen as the best footballing league in the world. Its financial transition has made it what it is today when looking in terms of exposure. It is the most watched league across the globe. In the past years there were not many investors from around the world and the league was not the best, most teams only depended on local investors and local players.Most of the clubs are now owned by foreign investors. The likes of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Manchester City’s Shaik Mansoor and Man United’s Glazer family just to name a few. They make the league more entertaining and well marketed because they are financial power houses. Some people may argue that the reason the Premier League is the best league in the world is due to the fact that it has a large contingent of talented foreign players, which is a fact.

During this transition, more African players such as Nigeria’s Kanu, South Africa’s Steven Pienaar and Benni McCarthy, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan and Michael Essien etc, came to the picture and pursued their football in England. That benefited the players as well as the clubs in terms of the quality Africans’ possess.

Most African players started being recognised in the world of football. They developed a lot of football attributes such as ball control, great technique with the ball and the ability to perform well week in, week out.

Former South African, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth player Aaron Mokoena, who is now a retired footballer, is now giving back to the youngsters of South Africa. He left the country 15 years ago to play abroad then went to the Premier League in 2007. With the knowledge he got from playing in England, after retiring from football, he opened a foundation. The foundation is working hand-in-hand with the other Premier League clubs to produce the next big African stars.

“I work with kids a lot and I know things like this make a big difference. In South Africa there is, sadly, a lot of crime and some kids are doing silly things or taking the easier path and committing crime.

“Things like this can make a big difference to their lives in the townships of South Africa,” said Mokoena

“There are lots of people in need and this kind of project will make a big difference to their lives. In the future, hopefully, we will find success for these children.”

Pontsho Mantlhakga


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