Africans in the Premier League: Pick of 2010/11

Peter Odemwingie
Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie enjoyed a successful debut season in English football

With African players from the Premier League gathering on Sunday for the first 'Best of Africa Awards' to choose the top African player of the season in the English top flight, BBC Sport's Stephen Fottrell highlights some of the best, and worst, African performers of the 2010/2011 campaign.

The best...


Arguably one of the shrewdest acquisitions of the season, the Nigerian striker became an instant hit at West Bromwich Albion following his move from Lokomotiv Moscow for £1.5m in August.

His 15 goals in 29 starts has put him in the top five scorers in the league this season and it is the highest tally for a West Brom player in the top flight since the mid-1980s.

His direct style has made him a hero among fans in the West Midlands of England, and he credits the supporters with contributing to his success this season.

His goals have helped to lift the club away from the relegation zone - and have inevitably led to increased speculation about where he might end up next season.

Odemwingie insists, however, he has already achieved his personal goal of playing in the Premier League and says he is happy to stay put at the Baggies.


The Ghana striker followed up his high-energy performances in last year's World Cup in South Africa with a move to Sunderland, signing from French club Rennes for a club record fee of £13m.

Yaya Toure (R) celebrates scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final
Yaya Toure helped secure an FA Cup trophy and top-four finish for Man City

Gyan quickly became a firm favourite for the Wearsiders, hitting 10 league goals before succumbing to injury in April.

He became known as much for his goal celebrations as his attacking style and scoring talent, introducing a new touchline dance style to the North East of England.

The 25-year-old capped a dream year when he scored against England in March in a friendly at Wembley in front of a rapturous Ghanaian away crowd of 21,000.

He also scooped the 2010 BBC African Footballer of the Year award during a 12-month period he will find hard to top.


After something of a quiet start to his Premier League career, the Ivorian became a hero at Manchester City after firing the club to their first trophy in 35 years and helping them to finish among the coveted top four spots in the division to qualify for the Champions League.

Toure scored in both the semi-final and final of the FA Cup to give City's super-rich owners their first piece of silverware and he will look forward to returning to the Champions League stage.

The 28-year-old signed from Barcelona last July on a five-year deal for a fee of about £24m, which reportedly yields him a weekly wage of £200,000.


Despite failing to save West Ham from relegation, after signing in January, Senegalese striker Ba did more than enough to enhance his reputation in England, scoring seven goals in 12 league appearances.

Ba already had a proven eye for goal, scoring 40 goals in 103 appearances for previous club Hoffenheim in Germany's Bundesliga.

The Paris-born striker will no doubt feature on several Premier League managers' shopping lists, with Sunderland boss Steve Bruce already name-checking him as a potential target.

...and worst


A season to forget for the Ghana defender, after notching up three own goals for Fulham, becoming only the second player to achieve the unenviable feat in a single Premier League season.

The 29-year-old made only 16 appearances in Mark Hughes' team and has not featured since the last of those three strikes on his own net in February, against Aston Villa.

With his contract due to expire this summer, he was already preparing to leave the club.

He may, however, need to persuade any potential suitors - with West Brom and newly promoted QPR rumoured to be among them - that the own-goal blitz was just an unlucky phase.


The Nigeria midfielder has struggled to influence the Chelsea team in anything resembling the manner he did under former Blues coach Jose Mourinho.

This season was arguably one of his most underwhelming, typified by his largely anonymous performance in the title showdown against Manchester United earlier this month, which saw him substituted at half-time in a defeat that ended Chelsea's title hopes.

The tussle between Manchester United and Chelsea for his signature seems a long time ago for the Nigerian, who may benefit from a move - or a reunion with Mourinho.


The older Toure enjoyed a far less auspicious season than his brother Yaya, after being indefinitely suspended in March for testing positive for a banned substance.

The Manchester City defender could yet face a ban of up to two years.

He can take some small comfort from City's achievements, however, particularly their FA Cup win, which was inspired by a galvanising spirit instilled in the side by his suspension, according to his brother.


The South African striker's spell at West Ham will not be celebrated in the annals of the club, after his contract was terminated in April.

The 33-year-old struggled to make any kind of impact, failing to score in only two Premier League starts during his 14-month spell at the club.

He is currently without a club.

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