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Africans rule Europe

By unknown | Jan 11, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The stereotype of an African striker used to be a player full of flair but lacking in the finishing department.

But a glance across the list of leading goal scorers in the top European leagues shows that caricature has been laid to rest.

As many European countries headed into the winter break, African names dominated the lists of top marksmen in the major leagues, notably the English Premier League, which opened up to African talent long after clubs in the rest of the continent.

Didier Drogba's glorious long-range effort, which secured a come-from-behind 3-2 win for Chelsea at Everton, was his 10th of the league season and put him ahead on the goalscoring charts for the first time this season.

The Ivory Coast captain moved above Nigerian international Nwankwo Kanu, whose career has found new impetus since a move to Portsmouth and a resultant nine goals.

Many of those have come from the head of the lanky former Inter Milan and Arsenal player, who had previously rarely been able to apply the finishing touch in the air.

Kanu, who played at relegated West Bromwich Albion last season, has managed to shake off a languid image thanks to the sudden discovery of the rewards of application.

In Spain, Mali's Frederic Kanoute became the top scorer while in Belgium the Burundi-born Mohamed Tchite and unheralded Nigerian Patrick Ogunsoto shared top place in the scoring charts. They have 12 goals each.

Congolese-born Blaise Nkufo, who is a Swiss international, is the second highest goalscorer in the Dutch league, while the list of leading marksmen in the French Ligue 1 featured three Africans among the top nine.

Ismael Bangoura of Le Mans has emerged as the surprise package of the French league.

Eight goals for the Guinea international made him joint leading scorer. One goal behind were Ivorian international Aruna Dindane of Racing Lens and Guinea captain Pascal Feindouno of St Etienne.

"I don't see why I can't finish the season as the club and league's top scorer," said Bangoura, whose former national team coach Patrice Neveu says is a born goalscorer.

"I've rarely seen a player who can strike the ball awfully hard without taking a great swing," Neveu said.

Kanoute struck his 12th league goal of the season for Sevilla in Spain.

Tchite said he intends to play for Belgium once his naturalisation process has been completed, which Anderlecht officials said was weeks away. - Reuters


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