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Qatar 2022: The indestructible Ghanaian, the goalscoring goalkeeper, and other La Liga stars set to represent African teams at the World Cup

November 18th 2022, 2:24:26 pm

La Liga is full of African stars, but which ones will be shining at the World Cup?

La Liga's Africa stars set to light up the Qatar 2022 World Cup

La Liga has a rich history of African stars, from Finidi George to Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, and so many others. The current season of La Liga is no different, with several African stars running the show at their various clubs.

With the Qatar 2022 World Cup nearing its kickoff, it is only right that we bring you a catalogue of the La Liga stars set to represent African countries at the tournament, complete with their profiles and what to expect from them.

Athletic Bilbao

Ghana

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Throughout his career, Inaki Williams has set himself apart as a pacesetter. He started his career by being the first person of colour to score for Athletic Bilbao, and he currently holds the record for the most consecutive La Liga matches.

He is certainly no stranger to La Liga faithfuls, but he will certainly be a new face in the Ghanaian setup since he only made his debut with the in September 2022, after completing a change of nationality.

As usual, you can expect Williams to bring his direct running, willingness to press defenders, and superb hold-up play to the Ghanaian national team, and you can expect that they will be as appreciated at the World Cup as they have been in La Liga for Athletic Bilbao.

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He can also chip in with goals, as he has shown this season. He leads Bilbao’s scoring in La Liga with five goals from 14 games and should be able to get his first for Ghana in Qatar.

Williams could also join a unique group of players who have played in the same World Cup tournament as a sibling but for different countries.

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This very unusual list also features another Ghanaian, Kevin Prince Boateng, who also starred in La Liga for Las Palmas and Barcelona and played against his stepbrother Jerome Boateng at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments.

Celta Vigo

Ghana

Another strutting his stuff in La Liga is Celta’s Joseph Aidoo, who has been a silver lining in a cloudy season for .

Despite being at the wrong end of the table with Celta, the 6 ft. tall defender, who is in his fourth La Liga season, has been a standout performer and fully merits his place in Ghana’s squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Aidoo has been a mainstay in the heart of the defence for Celta and has played every available minute for them.

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He has also chipped in one goal, an 89th-minute equaliser that spared Celta’s blushes at the Balaidos stadium. At the World Cup, Aidoo will be a great asset for the Ghanaian team with his physical presence and superb technical ability on the ball as well.

Osasuna

Morocco

Ezzalzouli Abdessamad, also fondly known as Ez Abde or just Abde, has had a career characterised by brave decisions both on and off the pitch.

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He made the bold decision to represent Morocco over other available countries while still a teenager and then declined to represent Morocco at the 2021 AFCON in order to focus on his burgeoning club career with Barcelona at the time.

He has reaped the rewards of both decisions, as he will now be representing Morocco at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with his reputation as a player in La Liga at an all-time high as well.

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In the 2022–23 La Liga season, Abde has occasionally stood out as a quick, elusive winger who can cause problems for any full-back. Despite his playing time being by injuries, the graduate of Barcelona’s La Masia has shown glimmers of the talent that helped him secure a spot on the Moroccan squad for the World Cup.

At only 20 years old, Abde is the second-youngest player on the Moroccan team and, in the absence of Amine Harit, could be an important creative outlet for the Atlas Lions.

Real Valladolid

Morocco

Jawad El Yamiq is another in a long line of quality Moroccan centre backs, following in the footsteps of former Deportivo defender Noureddine Naybet as well as former Bayern Munich and Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia.

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El Yamiq joined Valladolid ahead of the 2020/2021 La Liga season, where they were relegated, but he stayed to help them secure promotion back to the top flight. He has since been a regular for in the current season and has helped them to an unexpected 12th position heading into the World Cup break.

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El Yamiq might not be a starter for Morocco, but he is always ready to play his part for the national team, and they will need all the help they can get if they are to successfully navigate a group that includes Belgium, Croatia, and Canada.

Sevilla

Morocco

Yassine Bounou, commonly known as is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers currently playing in La Liga.

The Moroccan goalkeeper has been number one between the sticks for Sevilla since his second season at the club, and along the way, he has produced performances that are truly worthy of his status within the game.

In addition to outstanding goalkeeping, he also scored his first career goal for Sevilla against Real Valladolid. In doing so, he joined an elite list of La Liga goalkeepers that also includes Jose Luis Chilavert and Carlos Fenoy as one of the very few goalkeepers to have scored in La Liga.

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Morocco has several reliable goal scorers up front, so he may not need to repeat his heroics; however, they will require his expertise in goal, and as any La Liga fan knows, he has plenty of that. He won the 2021/22 Zamora trophy for the best goalkeeper and was also the La Liga African MVP for the same season, so all of Morocco can rest assured that they are going into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a very safe pair of hands.

Sevilla

Morocco

In Youssef En-Nesyri, Morocco have an experienced striker who is a handful for any defence on his day.

En-Nesyri, who is only 25 years old, is already in his sixth season of top-flight football and has already represented his country 50 times, scoring 15 times in the process.

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He has struggled to replicate his form from earlier seasons in the current La Liga season due to injury, but remains an invaluable part of the Moroccan team going to the World Cup.

In Morocco’s 26-man final squad, only Hakim Ziyech has scored more goals than he has, so it’s quite obvious where the Atlas Lions expect the goals to come from. If En-Nesyri can maintain his fitness, he will certainly not disappoint.

Rayo Vallecano

Senegal

Senegalese holding midfielder Pathe Ciss has been part of a Rayo Vallecano side that has taken La Liga by storm in the 2022/23 season.

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Rayo currently sit eighth in La Liga after claiming a draw at Camp Nou while beating both Real Madrid and Sevilla, and Ciss has been a considerate part of their success.

The hard-tackling, ever-running midfielder who has also had to fill in at centre-back has been impressive for Rayo, leading the team in recoveries (6.9) and tackles won (2.54) in La Liga this season, as well as being second in interceptions made. T

here is no doubt that Senegal has a midfield stacked with some of the best defensive midfielders in Africa, but among these great players, Ciss is able to hold his own and should be considered a key part of the Senegalese team in Qatar for the World Cup.

Real Betis

Senegal

When Real let go of Hector Bellerin, they were not too worried about replacing him because they already had Youssouf Sabaly in their ranks.

In fact, had it not been for Sabaly’s battles with fitness in the 2021/22 season, he may very well have usurped Bellerin as the first choice while the Spaniard was on loan to Betis. That is how good Sabaly is.

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Now regaining his full fitness, Sabaly has been solid at right back in La Liga and has shown how much of an asset he will be to Senegal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Sabaly excels at carrying the ball from deep positions, and this will certainly be key for a Senegal side that has struggled with creativity in the past. He has made the second-highest average carry progress for Real Betis in La Liga this season and has created the third most chances per 90 minutes as well.

We can’t wait to see more of his overlapping runs leave opposition defences stranded when the World Cup kicks off.

Villarreal

Senegal

Born in Banjul, Gambia, Nicolas Jackson now represents Senegal, where he grew up with his parents, and has done so since under-20 level. The fleet-footed forward is known throughout La Liga for his pace, creativity, and directness.

He heads to Qatar with Senegal as the youngest player in the squad and the only player who has yet to make an appearance for the national team.

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There can be no doubt of the quality this young man possesses, and it must be a great joy that he is finally getting to show that quality for the national team on the biggest stage possible.

If Jackson’s quick integration into the Villarreal side is anything to go by, he will hit the ground running for Senegal at the World Cup, and when he does, he will be one of the breakout stars of the World Cup.

There are so many of La Liga’s African stars representing their countries at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and many of them are key players who are ready to impact how well their nations do; it is yet another reason why La Liga is the best league in the world.

Ayoola Kelechi
Ayoola is a reporter with Pulse Sports. He is an avid fan of football, and also a reputable writer with a fondness for football data and history. You can debate his opinions on Twitter: @ayoola_kelechi

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