The 2018/19 soccer season in Europe has been a triumphant one for African stars with the likes of Mane, Salah and Aubameyang dominating the scoring in England while others formed the backbone of the top European clubs. Michael Renouf looks back on a glorious season for African players in Europe and picks his players to watch in the coming season.
The 2018/19 English Premier League season gave us a couple of firsts: Riyad Mahrez's Manchester City becoming the first team to win the domestic treble of League title, FA Cup and Carabao Cup; but their talismanic Argentinian striker, Sergio Agiiero could only finish fourth in the race for the Golden Boot with 21 goals ahead of him was a tie for the top goal scorer trophy with three of his rivals notching 22 strikes apiece.
A tie for the award for the highest goalscorer in the Premier League season is in itself not that unusual. In fact it has happened on three previous occasions: 1997/98 (Chris Sutton, Dion Dublin and Michael Owen); the following season (Dwight Yorke, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Michael Owen again); and in 2010/11 (Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov).
Last season was the 27th of the Premier League era and over the years, the Golden Boot has shifted away from being dominated by English players to combatants from countries as diverse as Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Cote d'Ivoire.
In fact, such is the decline in English players leading the goalscoring charts, that only World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane (2015/16 and 2016/17) has topped this particular chart since Kevin Phillips of Sunderland back in 1999-2000, whilst being in possession of a British passport.
What was unique about the 2018/19 race was that all three winners were from Africa. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal and Gabon and the Liverpool pair of Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Mo Salah of Egypt.
Salah, of course, was picking up his second consecutive award as he was the previous season's winner with a mind-boggling 32 goals. This is the first time ever that club-mates have shared the award--a teat I don't see being repeated very often.
In his first two seasons with Liverpool, Salah has scored an impressive 54 goals in 74 league appearances and he is already tied, as the African player to have captured this honour on the most occasions, with the only player from the continent to win the award previously--Didier Drogba, who won the award twice (2006/7 and 2009/10). However, the Chelsea hitman did have nine seasons at the London club to achieve this. Coincidentally, this was the club where Jose Mourinho failed to get a tune out of Egypt's star man.
If he stays in England, how long will it be before Salah picks up his third award, which would bring him level with the only two men to have accomplished that feat, the goal-scoring legends, Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry? Also, if he tops the scoring charts next season, he would be only the second player to do this three seasons in a row, the other being the aforementioned former Blackburn and Newcastle hitman, Shearer.
For all Salah s greatness, the Liverpool number 11 was statistically the weakest of the three winners, playing 38 games opposed to the 36 of the other two recipients, with Aubameyang achieving it with the least shots (72) and also having the best goals per minute ratio by nestling the ball in the back of the opponents' net once every 124 minutes.
In fact if you take all the...