The leagues in England and Spain are back under way and that means a chance for our African stars to shine again this season. They did not disappoint this weekend, with several outstanding performances.
TAIWO AWONIYI (NIGERIA & NOTTINGHAM FOREST)
Nigeria striker Awoniyi has continued where he left off last season with another goal, though this one came in a losing cause for Nottingham Forest at Arsenal in their Premier League opener. Awoniyi came on off the bench and pulled a goal back for Forest in the 2-1 loss as he finished from close-range after an excellent run and cross from Anthony Elanga. Awoniyi, a confirmed Arsenal fan, also netted against The Gunners last season to effectively end the London club’s title challenge. That is now seven Premier League goals in his last five games for the 26-year-old.
SIMON ADINGRA (IVORY COAST & BRIGHTON)
Ivory Coast forward Adingra made the perfect start to life at Brighton following his loan move from Belgian side Royal Union St Gilloise with a goal in the thumping 4-1 victory over promoted Luton Town. When you sign for a new team as an attacker, you want to make a positive impression on the fans early, and the 21-year-old certainly did that. Adingra came off the bench and profited from some hesitant Luton defending to lash the ball into the back of the net and score Brighton’s third.
BRYAN MBEUMO (CAMEROON & BRENTFORD)
Mbeumo got his season under way with a penalty against Tottenham Hotspur to help earn Brentford a 2-2 draw. He stroked the ball past debutant Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario in a lively performance that suggests he will have a big season again. It also follows his two goals he scored against Spurs in May, which suggests he enjoys facing the North London club. Mbeumo has the potential to be a real Premier League star this campaign.
YOANE WISSA (DR CONGO & BRENTFORD)
Wissa continues to shine in the lead striker role at Brentford that he has taken on while Ivan Toney sits out an eight-month suspension for breaking the Premier League’s gambling rules. He also netted in that 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur in May, and did so again on Saturday in the 2-2 draw that opened the season for both sides. With the teams level at 1-1, Wissa was left unmarked in the box and unleashed a shot that was deflected into the net. But it is a goal for the DR Congo forward as his original effort was on target.
JORDAN AYEW (GHANA & CRYSTAL PALACE)
With Wilfred Zaha no longer at Crystal palace, they are going to need to find new creative outlets and Jordan Ayew can be that man for The Eagles. It was his excellent cross that was superbly turned into the net by Odsonne Édouard as Palace won away at promoted Sheffield United in their opening fixture. Ayew scored nine goals in the 2019/20 season, but has only managed eight in the three campaigns since then, and will want to boost his numbers this term as he takes on more responsibility.
MOHAMED SALAH (EGYPT & LIVERPOOL)
Liverpool are looking for a much improved campaign in 2023/24, and you can be sure Salah will be central to that. The Egyptian star thought he had continued his incredible record of always scoring in Liverpool’s opening game of the season, but his early effort at former side Chelsea came back off the woodwork. He did, however, provide a superb through-ball for Luis Diaz to score the opener in the game at Stamford Bridge, though Chelsea fought back to draw 1-1.
MOUCTAR DIAKHABY (GUINEA & VALENCIA)
Diakhaby doesn’t score many, he had netted six goals in five seasons at Valencia before this past weekend. But he came up with the opener against Sevilla as his side went on to win 2-1 and make the perfect start to their campaign. It was a bit of a scuffed shot as he was teed up from 12-yards, but he won’t care as it found its way into the net past Sevilla’s Morocco international goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. Diakhaby did get three goals last season, so maybe things are looking up for him on that front.
YOUSSEF EN-NESYRI (MOROCCO & SEVILLA)
Tall Morocco forward En-Nesyri scored eight goals in LaLiga last term but has one already for Sevilla in 2023/24 as he equalised for his side against Valencia, though ultimately his evening would end in defeat. It was a trademark header from the striker as he ghosted in at the back post and sent a powerful effort goalwards.