Champions League: Ranking every African contender

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GOAL's Ed Dove rates the chances of every single African in the competition

In this feature, GOAL’s Ed Dove rates the chances of all of the African contenders set to compete in this year’s Champions League group stage.

  1. #29 Viktoria Plzen

    The Czech minnows are in danger of being the Group C whipping boys, but can African trio Modou N’Diaye, Fortune Bassey and Mohamed Tijani help them take some points from the three European giants?

    Nigeria's Bassey is on loan from Ferencvaros, and scored two in three qualifying matches.

  2. #28 Maccabi Haifa

    Wideman Mavis Tchibota represents Congo-Brazzaville, having moved directly to Israel from his homeland in 2014, while Niger international midfielder Ali Mohamed could have turned out for Ghana.

    They’ll have their work cut out in a testing Group H.

  3. FC Kobenhavn

    #27 FC Kobenhavn

    Nigerian duo Paul Mukairu and Akinkunmi Amoo will surely need to play a big role if the Danish heavyweights are to upset the odds, and keep an eye out for Khouma Babacar.

    Once hailed as the new Didier Drogba, the 29-year-old Senegal international hasn’t fulfilled his potential.

  4. Shakhtar Donetsk

    #26 Shakhtar Donetsk

    The Ukraine giants can boast Burkina Faso starlet Lassina Traore, who came through the ranks at Ajax, although the future of Nigeria’s Olarenwaju Kayode appears to be uncertain amidst the security situation in the Eastern European country.

    The ex-Manchester City man hasn't been registered in the club's UCL squad.

  5. Club Brugge

    #25 Club Brugge

    There’s plenty of African representation at Brugge, with Ghana full-back Denis Odoi the headline attraction.

    The full-back only recently committed to the Black Stars, but will be hoping to reach the World Cup on the back of a successful Champions League group stage campaign.

  6. Eintracht Frankfurt

    #24 Eintracht Frankfurt

    An encouraging group stage draw will give Eintracht hope of building on last year’s Europa League success and advancing into the knockouts.

    They have considerable African interest, with Paris Saint-Germain loanee Eric Dina Ebimbe one to watch and Randal Kolo Muani arriving from FC Nantes having won the French Cup earlier this year.

    He has already hit the ground running in the Bundesliga.

    Defender Evan Ndicka has been linked to the likes of AC Milan, Arsenal and Olympique de Marseille in recent windows.

  7. Red Bull Salzburg

    #23 Red Bull Salzburg

    As usual, Salzburg are awash with African talent as they look to advance from a tricky group.

    Former France international Oumar Solet is eligible for the Central African Republic, while Mali’s Sekou Koita remains absent with ankle problems.

  8. Rangers

    #22 Rangers

    Shorn of Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo after their run to the Europa League final, Rangers will be expecting more from Zambia’s Fashion Sakala this term.

    Nigeria’s Nnamdi Ofoborh is a long-term absentee with a heart problem.

  9. Sporting Lisbon
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    #21 Sporting Lisbon

    It will be fascinating to see what wonderkid Abdul Fatawu Issahaku can achieve in the Champions League this season having put pen to paper with Sporting Lisbon.

    He’s another who will be hoping to go to the World Cup, having accrued eight caps since making his Black Stars debut last year.

    The teenager represented the West Africans at the Africa Cup of Nations.

  10. Olympique de Marseille
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    #20 Olympique de Marseille

    Chancel Mbemba and Eric Bailly—arriving from FC Porto and Manchester United respectively—could forge a fine athletic all-African defensive pairing for OM, who will be encouraged by a reasonable group-stage draw.

    Cedric Bakambu and Bamba Dieng haven't been registered for the UCL squad after being linked with moves away.

    Issa Kabore, arriving on loan from Manchester City, is another one to watch.

  11. Bayer Leverkusen

    #19 Bayer Leverkusen

    Burkina Faso centre-back Edmond Tapsoba is another player who’s being coveted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

    Callum Hudson-Odoi, with an eye on the World Cup with Ghana, has joined on loan from Chelsea.

  12. Sevilla

    #18 Sevilla

    There’s a real Moroccan feel at Sevilla, where the duo of Bono and Youssef En-Nesyri will be hoping to end 2022 with success at the World Cup.

    Munir has departed for Getafe.

  13. Benfica

    #17 Benfica

    Entering his second season at Benfica following his 2021 move from AC Milan, Soualiho Meite hasn’t quite realised the promise of his youth, but remains a handy central midfielder at this level.

    A former France U-20 international, he remains eligible for the Ivory Coast.

  14. FC Porto

    #16 FC Porto

    Nigeria’s Zaidu Sanusi has impressed in the latter stages with FC Porto, can he enjoy another deep run in the competition this time around?

    Porto will certainly be weaker for losing Chancel Mbemba.

  15. RasenBallsport Leipzig
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    #15 RasenBallsport Leipzig

    Ademola Lookman and Ilaix Moriba have departed, but the likes of Mohamed Simakan is the kind of young promising talent that typically use the Bundesliga club as a platform for greater things.

    Amadou Haidara has already made 17 appearances at this level for Leipzig, and will be a major asset…he was wanted by Newcastle United during the transfer window.

    Abdou Diallo has arrived on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.

  16. Napoli

    #14 Napoli

    Victor Osimhen has the opportunity to demonstrate his class to a broader audience in the Champions League this term.

    Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has signed permanently from Fulham after a successful loan, while there’s Algerian interest in Adam Ounas and Karim Zedadka.

    Kalidou Koulibaly is a big loss.

  17. Ajax
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    #13 Ajax

    Brian Brobbey is rediscovering his mojo in the Eredivisie after returning to Ajax from RasenBallsport Leipzig, and Ghana’s Mohammed Kudus remains at the club despite interest from Everton.

    Calvin Bassey is a new arrival from Rangers, although Mohamed Ihatteren is on the injury list and both Andre Onana and Noussair Mazraoui have departed.

  18. Borussia Dortmund
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    #12 Borussia Dortmund

    Sebastien Haller is currently sidelined with illness following his big-money transfer from Ajax during the offseason, and BVB have subsequently brought in Anthony Modeste as his replacement.

    Youssouf Moukoko hasn’t had things all his own way since breaking onto the scene as the Bundesliga’s youngest player, but has already found the net in this season’s Bundesliga.

  19. AC Milan

    #11 AC Milan

    Ismael Bennacer of Algeria has struggled at this level before, but having won the Serie A crown with AC Milan last term, has started the season strongly.

  20. Internazionale

    #10 Internazionale

    Andre Onana joins the former Italian champions from Ajax on a free transfer, but in truth, he must get his career truly back on track after his suspension for taking a banned substance.

  21. Atletico Madrid
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    #9 Atletico Madrid

    Mozambique’s Reinildo impressed immediately at Atletico last season after signing from LOSC Lille midway through the campaign, while Geoffrey Kondogbia has established himself as a key player under Diego Simeone since replacing Thomas Partey.

  22. Juventus
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    #8 Juventus

    Exciting things are expected of Beziers-born wideman Marley Ake.

    The Franco-Ivorian attacker must first overcome a broken fibula before imposing himself on the team this season.

  23. Chelsea

    #7 Chelsea

    Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy have endured mixed starts to the season, but their class will surely tell over the course of the campaign.

    Thomas Tuchel has already taken this team to the title—even before making his own recruits—and will be aiming to go the distance once again.

    Keep an eye out for Carney Chukwuemeka in the group stage, and Hakim Ziyech remains at the club.

  24. Tottenham Hotspur

    #6 Tottenham Hotspur

    Yves Bissouma arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer, and has now set about forcing his way into the heart of the Spurs midfield.

    The UCL represents new ground for the Mali man.

    Don’t expect African Young Player of the Year Pape Matar Sarr to feature too much, while Japhet Tanganga remains despite interest from Milan and Nottingham Forest.

  25. Barcelona
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    #5 Barcelona

    Franck Kessie arrives from AC Milan on a free transfer with the potential to be the bargain of the summer.

  26. Bayern Munich

    #4 Bayern Munich

    After last season’s near miss with Liverpool, Mane will be desperate to go one step further with Bayern and win the UCL for a second time.

    Noussair Mazaroui, arriving on a free from Ajax, has reached the semi-final once before, while Bouna Sarr and Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting will also be involved.

  27. Liverpool
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    #3 Liverpool

    Last year’s defeated finalists, Liverpool will again be in the hunt, with Mohamed Salah leading the charge once again.

    Naby Keita and Joel Matip may both be injured currently, but will have big roles to play in the European campaign this season.

  28. Paris Saint-Germain
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    #2 Paris Saint-Germain

    Achraf Hakimi grew into life in the French capital during his maiden season in France last term, ending it with another league winner’s medal, and could be an x-factor in their pursuit of the Champions League this term.

  29. Manchester City

    #1 Manchester City

    Will this be the year when Pep Guardiola finally gets Manchester City over the line in the Champions League?

    Riyad Mahrez excelled in the competition in 2021, proving to be the difference-maker against Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final, but was unable to prevent the Citizens’ early exit last time around.

    At 31, how many more opportunities will he have to win the big one?