Friday, February 29, 2008

African Club Football - Part Two

Cote d'Ivoire Premier Division

Year Founded: 1960

Top Clubs: ASEC Mimosas and Africa Sports National

The top two clubs in Cote d'Ivoire have combined for 36 Premier Division titles and 29 Cote d'Ivoire Cups. ASEC Mimosas, also known as ASEC Abidjan won the CAF champions league in 1998. Mimosas are considered home to one of the top youth academies in Africa, developing such players as Dindane, Eboue, Zakora, Kalou, and the Toure brothers. Mimosas also hold the world record for the longest unbeaten run in club football, 108 games between 1989 and 1994.

Players who got their start in the Cote d'Ivoire Premier Division:
Arthur Boka - VfB Stuttgart
Emmanuel Eboue - Arsenal
Kolo Toure - Arsenal
Romaric - Le Mans
Didier Zokora - Tottenham
Aruna Dindane - RC Lens
Abdul Kader Keita - Lyon
Bakari Kone - Nice
Gervinho - Le Mans
Didier Ya Konan - Rosenborg BK

Egyptian Premier League

Year Founded: 1948

Top Teams: Al-Ahly and Al-Zamalek

The Egyptian Premier League can make a strong case for being the most competitive league in Africa. Between Al-Ahly and Al-Zamalek, a total of 43 league titles, 55 league cups, and 10 African Champions League titles have been collected. Al-Ahly also placed third in the 2006 World Club Championship, by topping Club America of Mexico, 2-1.

These two clubs are major rivals and are part of what is likely the fiercest club rivalry in Africa. There is an interesting site about the derby here. Apparently, this game is one of the highlights of the season for many of the Arab countries of the region. Players from the clubs also make up a large portion of the very successful Egyptian National Team.

Players who got their start in the Egyptian Premier League:
Essam El-Hadary - FC Sion
Mohamed Shawky - Middlesbrough
Ahmed Hassan - Anderlecht
Mido - Middlesbrough
Ibrahim Said - Ankaragücü
Ahmed Abo Mosallam - Strasbourg
Hossam Ghaly - Derby County

Ghana Telecom Premier League

Year Founded: 1956

Top Clubs: Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko

Between these two clubs, 39 Ghanaian Championships, 17 Ghanaian Cups, and 3 African Club Championships have been collected. This has been a fairly even rivalry through the years, and is also considered one of the most competitive rivalries in Africa. Since Hearts of Oak's win in 2000, the Ghanaian clubs haven't progressed to the last four in the African Champions League.

Players that got their start in the Ghana Premier League:
Stephen Appiah - Fenerbahçe
Laryea Kingston - Hearts
Asamoah Gyan - Udinese
Abubakari Yakubu - Vitesse Arnhem

There are a ton of Ghana players abroad, but most of them never played in their domestic league, instead starting with European clubs.

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