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banner Friday, 14 January, 2000, 18:16 GMT
African stars light up Premiership

Nigerian Daniel Amokachi won the FA Cup with Everton in '95

Liberian striker George Weah is only the latest African star to light up the English Premiership.

The 33-year-old, who scored a last-gasp winner for Chelsea on his debut, will not be playing in the African Cup of Nations because his country have failed to qualify.

But there are at least 11 other African internationals playing in Britain who are carving out a career in the toughest league in the world.

BBC News Online takes a look at the best.

Celestine Babayaro

Age: 21
Country: Nigeria
Last transfer fee: 2.25m

The left wing-back has been at Chelsea since 1997 when he joined for 2.25m.

Having spent most of his first season sidelined with a broken foot, he is currently a regular feature of the Premiership side.

The combination of his speed, technical accomplishments and ability in the air have earned him 24 caps for his country and an Olympic Gold medal.

He made his first impression at the age of 15 when he was signed by Belgian side Anderlecht following a glittering display in the U-17 World Cup.

Lucas Radebe

Age: 30
Country: South Africa
Last transfer fee: 250,000

Making sure the South African defender stayed at Elland Road was the top priority of David O'Leary when he took over at Leeds.

Last-ditch tackles and the ability to dominate opposition attackers enable him to stand out among Premiership defenders.

The 30-year-old has also earned praise from ex-Leeds manager George Graham who said: "(Appointing him captain) shows the confidence I have in him and how much I rate him."

At international level, Radebe helped his side to win the 1996 African Cup of Nations and led South Africa to their first World Cup Finals in 1998.

Nwankwo Kanu

Age: 23
Country: Nigeria
Last transfer fee: 4.5m

Arsenal's striker was named African Player of the Year in 1999 for the second time and will spearhead Nigeria's attack in the forthcoming cup.

He has come a long way since a routine medical found a serious heart defect which required surgery in 1996.

He moved to Arsenal in 1998 and the player of immense skill and determination is often used from the subs bench by manager Arsene Wenger.

He is one of Highbury's highest paid players, one of the reasons Wenger was so reluctant to let him leave for the tournament until the latest possible date.

A hat trick against Chelsea in October has been a highlight of his season. A powerful right-foot shot that curled in from the acutest of angles secured Arsenal a 3-2 victory over their London rivals.

"He has a great winning attitude and typifies the Arsenal spirit. He is a very intelligent player. He reacts very well," said Wenger.

In 1993, Kanu could be found at Iwuanyanwo Nationale, a Nigerian division one team, but now he is a firm fixture in the world's toughest league.

Mustapha Hadji

Age: 28
Country: Morocco
Last transfer fee: 4m

The flamboyant Moroccan midfielder joined Coventry in 1999 and is a regular in the first team.

He is a tall, quick, skillful midfielder, with the ability to play all over the centre of the field.

A 4m transfer brought him to Highfield Road after he showed all this ability with an outstanding goal at France 98 against Norway.

Born in Morocco but raised in France, Mustapha could have played for either country. He opted for the African team and has since been at two World Cup finals.

Marc-Vivien Foe

Age: 25
Country: Cameroon
Last transfer fee: 4m

Foe was a record signing at West Ham when he joined for 4m.

The presence he has in midfield was the main attraction for Harry Redknapp when he lured him away from French club Lens.

His powerful physique is ideal for the Premiership and he soon impressed at the East London club.

His ability with the ball at his feet means he is a natural in the centre of midfield.

Youssef Chippo

Age: 26
Country: Morocco
Last transfer fee: 1.2m

Spectacular goals and inventive play have given the Moroccan defender a brilliant start to his career at Coventry.

He has immense ability at either end of the pitch, with strong defensive play and an eye for goal. He even scored two goals against his manager Gordon Strachan's old club Leeds United in the Worthington Cup.

On an international level he was part of the Moroccan team for the World Cup in France.

Hassan Kachloul
Age: 26
Country: Morocco
Last transfer fee: 250,000

This classy Moroccan midfielder was a virtual unknown when he joined Southampton but immediately established himself as a regular first-team member and a firm crowd favourite.

He has an infectious enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude, also making him a favourite with the players.

Success at club level will help him establish himself in the national side.

Six goals in his first 24 appearances will certainly give him good standing.

Quinton Fortune

Age: 22
Country: South Africa
Last transfer fee: 1.5m

The South African midfielder now plays for Manchester United but was first brought to England by Terry Venables at the age of 14.

He tried to gain a professional contract but when it failed to materialise he moved to Athletico Madrid while still a youth.

Fortune became an international before really establishing himself at his club and made his debut against Kenya in 1996.

The talents of the left winger were spotted by Alex Ferguson during the 1998 World Cup and he soon moved to Old Trafford for 1.5m.

He demonstrated an eye for goal by scoring twice for United against South Melbourne in the World Club Championship.

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Winner for Weah on debut
Links to other Cup Features stories are at the foot of the page.