Nigerian trio Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun as well as Zambia international forward Fashion Sakala and his Ivory Coast counterpart Amad Diallo may have missed out on Uefa Europa League glory on Wednesday but it is still not over for African stars in Europe.
With the finals of the Uefa Women’s Champions League (May 21), Europa Conference League (May 25), and Uefa Champions League (May 28) still to take place, GOAL looks at six African stars who still have a chance of lifting a European club football trophy.
Named Feyenoord’s player of the Month for April last week, the Nigerian international has a shot at European glory when Feyenoord take on AS Roma in the Europa Conference League final at the Air Albania Stadium on May 25. Dessers’ 10 goals make him the leading scorer in the competition and the on-loan Genk striker will be keen to add to his tally and help the Eredivisie team down Jose Mourinho’s side.
- AS Roma.
Like Dessers, the 19-year-old Ghana international might be crucial to AS Roma’s charge towards the Europa Conference title if coach Jose Mourinho opts to use him at crucial moments like he has been doing this season. Afena-Gyan has notched three goals in the competition and could be the one that scores the important one which could earn Roma a first trophy in 14 years.
The Barcelona striker claimed the Pichichi award early this week after a successful campaign that saw her score 20 goals as the Blaugrana clinched the league title after winning all their 30 games. The Nigerian international has a chance to seal a memorable double as Barcelona face Lyon in the Uefa Women’s Champions League final on May 21 at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in Turin, seeking to retain the title.
Liverpool are sweating on the availability of the Egyptian forward for the May 28 Uefa Champions League final against Real Madrid after suffering an injury in the FA Cup final. Salah, who has eight goals in the competition this season, had expressed his desire to meet Madrid in the final and exert revenge following the 2017-18 final loss to Los Blancos, and got his wish. Manager Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Salah is available as Liverpool seek a second continental trophy in four years, following on their 2018-19 triumph against Tottenham.
The man for the big moments, the Senegal international has turned up for Liverpool in crucial games and his importance to the side in the Champions League final cannot be overemphasised. Mane has five Champions League goals this campaign but three of them have come in the knock-out stage against Benfica and Villarreal when the Reds needed to progress to the next round. Another one in the final, and Liverpool might seal a seventh crown.
With centre-back partner Virgil van Dijk a doubt for the final due to an injury picked up in last weekend’s FA Cup final, the former Cameroon international will be the man tasked to lead Liverpool’s defence as they seek to keep Karim Benzema and co at bay. Matip has enjoyed an injury-free season, playing a pivotal part as the Reds challenge on four fronts. He has been part of a Liverpool defence that has conceded just 25 goals in the league and will need to be at his best again in the final. Even if Van Dijk starts, Matip remains in contention to be in the back line next to the Dutch ace.