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La Liga launches award for top-performing African stars

3:54 AM GMT+8 24/01/2022
Dia, Chukwueze
One of the world’s best and successful football leagues has launched a unique award to honour outstanding African stars

As African football takes centre stage during the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the Spanish top flight is paying tribute to the league’s continental stars with the launch of the mid-season La Liga Santander African MVP award.

The accolade acknowledges the contribution of African players to the growth of Spain’s elite league. The initiative is unique, as the candidates will be chosen by the fans.

Football fans will be able to vote on La Liga’s social media platforms for the African stars they feel have had the best season to date.

Some of La Liga’s biggest African stars are representing their countries at the Afcon finals in Cameroon.

The list includes Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine “Bono” Bounou, who has been one of the most influential players in the Spanish top flight this season.

The 30-year-old has played 20 games for Sevilla in La Liga and the Uefa Champions League and conceded just 13 goals in more than 1 800 minutes of play to help propel Sevilla to the second spot on the standings.

Other Moroccan stars at Sevilla are Munir El Haddadi and Youssef En-Nesyri, who last season scored back-to-back hat-tricks in the league.

There is also rising FC Barcelona star Abde Ezzalzouli, who is also from Morocco.

The 20-year-old winger has played his first minutes in the Barcelona first team this season under the legendary former player and now coach, Xavi, and has quickly established himself as a fan favourite with his exciting performances.

Elsewhere in the Spanish top flight, Nigerian striker Samuel Chukwueze has made a welcome return to the Villarreal team – and to the La Liga scoring charts – this season after a long injury.

Chukwueze has been joined at Villarreal this season by Senegalese attacker Boulaye Dia.

Atletico Madrid’s Central African Republic midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has become an influential figure for coach Diego Simeone this season and recently scored his first La Liga goal for the club.

Togolese centre-back Djene Dakonam continues to be a pillar for Getafe and has racked up more than 200 league appearances.

Ghana midfielder Iddrisu Baba has been one of the standout performers for Real Mallorca this season on their return to La Liga.

Deportivo Alaves midfielder Mamadou Loum, who is part of the Senegal squad at Afcon, has also made a name for himself in Spain this season.

La Liga Southern Africa managing director Marcos Pelegrin said: “Africa’s football stars have added such huge entertainment and quality to LaLiga over the years, with players such as Samuel Eto’o, Thomas N’kono, Seydou Keita, Frederic Kanoute and Michael Essien just some of those who have enjoyed great success in Spain.

"As La Liga’s African audience continues to grow and the influence of the continent’s players becomes even greater, we are launching this Mid-Season La Liga African MVP award as just one of the ways in which we are celebrating Africa’s massive contribution to the league. We encourage fans to get involved and vote for their favourite stars who have performed consistently well in La Liga this season.”

Fans who participate in the voting stand a chance to win one of three official La Liga match jerseys, including the winning player’s jersey, as well as three official La Liga match balls and two La Liga African merchandise bundles.