Picking an African XI from the 2018-19 Champions League

Africa's Champions League XI
Who’d make an all-African dream team based on this year’s UCL so far?

  1. GK: Andre Onana
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    GK: Andre Onana

    The Cameroon stopper has delivered a series of outstanding performances for Ajax en route to the semi-finals, and was unlucky to be on the losing side after making a series of fine stops in Wednesday’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.

    Notably, Onana delivered a point-blank stop to deny Fernando Llorente in the build-up to Lucas Moura’s second, and on the basis of this performance, it’s easy to see why Barcelona are keen on his services.

  2. DF: Noussair Mazraoui
    Shaun Botterill

    DF: Noussair Mazraoui

    Onana’s Ajax teammate has been another key contributor during the Dutch heavyweights’ run to the final four.

    He’s been one of Africa’s breakout stars this season, and he stepped up to deliver outstanding displays against Bayern Munich in the group stage, and in both legs of the double-header against Real Madrid.

  3. DF: Kalidou Koulibaly

    DF: Kalidou Koulibaly

    Arguably Africa’s best centre-back in the world today, Koulibaly’s Champions League campaign may have ended in the group stage, but he nonetheless impressed during a series of commanding displays.

    He helped the Partenopei keep clean sheets against Red Star Belgrade and Liverpool, and Manchester United are just one major club linked to the defender’s signature this summer.

  4. DF: Joel Matip

    DF: Joel Matip

    Matip’s Liverpool career hasn’t been completely plain sailing, with injuries undermining his ability to make the impact he would have wanted at Anfield.

    However, the centre-back has come into his own during the latter stages of the campaign, playing his part in a series of outstanding rearguard displays.

    His struggles against Barcelona at the Nou Camp were eclipsed by his outstanding display in Liverpool’s miraculous second-leg comeback, and he also shone in the double-header against Bayern Munich.

  5. MF: Riyad Mahrez

    MF: Riyad Mahrez

    While Mahrez has only impressed in fits and starts during his maiden Manchester City season—and hasn’t featured for a month—he has caught the eye during a handful of Champions League appearances.

    He was outstanding in the 6-0 demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk in early November, contributing two assists and scoring once, while he also weighed in with an assist in the 2-2 draw at Olympique Lyonnais and the away victory in Ukraine.

  6. MF: Marvelous Nakamba

    MF: Marvelous Nakamba

    The Zimbabwe midfielder just edges Geoffrey Kondogbia out of our Dream Team after a series of fine showings for Club Bruges during the group stage.

    The Belgians were handed a tough group, and expectedly bowed out, but the central midfielder was influential as they demolished AS Monaco 4-0 away, before keeping clean sheets in an away draw at Borussia Dortmund and at home against Atletico Madrid.

    Only one player—Napoli’s Allan—has averaged more tackles per game in the UCL than Nakamba this term.

  7. MF: Houssem Aouar

    MF: Houssem Aouar

    It’s been another season of eye-catching progress by Aouar, who had already demonstrated his tackling qualities in Ligue 1 last season.

    This term, his game has continued to progress, and he contributed three assists in his seven outings.

    The 20-year-old has represented France at U-21 level, but remains eligible for Algeria.

  8. MF: Hakim Ziyech

    MF: Hakim Ziyech

    Anyone who wasn’t aware of the Morocco international’s quality before this season will definitely be under no illusion after his superb showings during the knockout stages.

    Ziyech’s delicious curling effort against Spurs was his third UCL goal, and he also contributed assists in the first leg against Tottenham Hotspur and the second leg against Juventus.

    Technically he’s superb, and he underpins that quality with an admirable work rate.

  9. FW: Sadio Mane
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    FW: Sadio Mane

    He may not have matched his goal return of last term, when he scored 10 in 11 UCL games, but Mane has nonetheless weighed in with several vital interventions this term.

    The Senegal international, who also has 20 Premier League goals, excelled in both away clashes against Bayern Munich and FC Porto, contributing two goals in each match, and could again be the difference-maker in next month’s final.

  10. FW: Moussa Marega
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    FW: Moussa Marega

    Despite being linked with a move to the Premier League last summer, Marega remained at FC Porto, and duly set about terrorising UCL defences.

    He scored six in nine in the Champions League this term, and joined an elite Champions League club including Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Edinson Cavani when he netted in six consecutive games in the competition.

    The Mali international has also hit 10 in the Portuguese top flight this term, and could be a dark horse for the Africa Cup of Nations Golden Boot.

  11. FW: Mohamed Salah
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    FW: Mohamed Salah

    Like Mane, the Egyptian superstar has four UCL goals this term, and also rose to the occasion in both of the away bouts in Munich and Porto.

    In the former, he contributed a fine assist as he dovetailed superbly with Mane, and also contributed two further goals (one strike, one assist) as Porto were dispatched 4-1 in the second leg of the quarter-final.

    The North African will be desperate to go one further than Liverpool did last term, and avenge his final heartbreak against Real Madrid last season.