Norway squad has African flair

Two have roots on the continent

NORWAY might have travelled from one end of the globe to the other for tomorrow's international friendly against Bafana Bafana in Cape Town, but there is a growing African influence on their football and their national side.

Two of the players in Egil Olsen's 29-man squad have their roots on the continent and Norway have capped others who are African-born or have their heritage on the continent.

Striker Tarik Elyounoussi moved from Morocco at the age of 12 to Norway and emerged as Norway's best young footballer just years later.

He went to the Dutch club Heerenveen as a teenage prodigy but did not crack the grade in the Netherlands and went back to Norway.

He has five goals for Norway, including one in a World Cup qualifier in October.

The 23-year-old midfielder Mohammed Fellah is Oslo-born but also of Moroccan descent and might well have played for the Atlas Lions, who face Bafana Bafana later this month in the African Nations Cup, than the Scandinavian country.

He has just broken through to the national side from Norway's under-21 outfit and represents a player for the future of the Norwegian side.

Tomorrow's match at Cape Town Stadium does not fall on a Fifa date and therefore Norway cannot use any of their sizeable contingent of players at English and German clubs, including striker Mohamed Abdellaoue of Hannover.

He is Norway's regular striker and also born in Oslo to Moroccan immigrant parents.

Alexander Tettey, who signed for Norwich City at the last days of the season, was born in Ghana but lived in Norway from an early age and has 14 caps.