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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 16:09 UK

Africa's finest in action

Every week, the BBC World Service's African sports programme Fast Track rounds up the continent's goal scorers in the top leagues in Europe.

Now with club action over for the season and players on their way to international duties, Fast Track brings you the best of the season 2008-09.


Phil Minshull runs down the highlights of a wonderful year for Africans in Spain

Samuel Eto'o
Samuel Eto'o helped Barca to an historic treble

There is no doubt that former African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto'o was the man who grabbed most of the headlines in La Liga.

The Cameroon striker scored 30 goals for Barcelona as the Catalan club romped to the league title, one part of an historic treble.

Barca also took the Champions League crown for the second time in four years, helped by Mali's Seydou Keita and Ivory Coast's Yaya Toure at the back.

They also claimed the Spanish Cup.

But Eto'o may also have a few bitter-sweet memories of last season.

Until February, he was on course to set a host of records but his strike rate tailed off and he ended up being overtaken for the 'Pichichi' prize of being La Liga's top scorer and in the race for the European Golden Boot.

By contrast, Mali's Fredi Kanoute hit a rare vein of form over the second half of the season and ended with 19 goals to his name to help Sevilla into next season's Champions League.

Fredi Kanoute
Fredi Kanoute came into his own in the second half of the season

Between the posts, Espanyol's Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni overcame a turbulent season of speculation about his future to keep a clean sheet in eight of his last nine games.

The question now is whether Espanyol will hold onto Kameni or he will move to one of the many English Premier League sides rumoured to be interested in him.

Almost certainly on the move during the summer will be South African defender Nasief Morris and Cameroon midfielder Achille Emana as their clubs, Recreativo Huelva and Real Betis, were relegated.


The BBC's Piers Edwards looks at the African stars in the Premier League

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba had a very mixed season indeed

For the first time in a while, no African made the league scorers top 10 - a far cry from recent years when Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor were leading the way.

The pair managed just 15 goals between them, Drogba's paltry tally of five being a direct result of both injury and Luis Felipe Scolari's refusal to partner him with Nicolas Anelka.

Drogba still faces punishment from Uefa after his antics at the end of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

With Premier League champions and League Cup winners Manchester United fielding no Africans, the continent's glory came through the FA Cup - where Drogba's season ended on a high with yet another final goal, while John Mikel Obi, Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou also collected medals.

There was no reward for beaten FA Cup finalists Everton, who fielded both Joseph Yobo and Steven Pienaar at Wembley, but the South African had a memorable season - winning over many neutrals with some scintillating football.

Other players also did well during trophy-less seasons.

Stoke City survived relegation thanks to considerable input from five Senegalese, none as popular as the fans' Player of the Year Abdoulaye Faye.

Elsewhere, Alex Song engineered his breakthrough season at Arsenal while Morocco's Nabil El Zhar made 15 appearances in Liverpool's unsuccessful title chase.

Amr Zaki
Amr Zaki started brilliantly but fell flat for Wigan and is returning to Egypt

Less fond memories come for those relegated - with Abdoulaye Meite (WBA), Mohamed Shawky (Middlesbrough) and Obafemi Martins, Geremi and Habib Beye (Newcastle United) all suffering.

That just leaves one of English football's greatest cameos.

In his first ten games at Wigan, Amr Zaki netted 8 times yet the Egyptian failed to score this year, which might have been excusable had he not repeatedly returned late from international duty.

Once mentioned in the same breath as Real Madrid and Liverpool, Zaki is now set to return home.


The BBC's Durosimi Thomas reflects on a change of the old order in both France and Germany

Marouane Chamakh
Marouane Chamakh helped Bordeaux break Lyon's stranglehold on the title

Last week France Football magazine published a two page article on Marouane Chamakh, the Moroccan who has spent nine years at new French champions Bordeaux.

The article touched on the 25-year-old striker's goals in Bordeaux's title campaign and his speculated transfer to England.

He managed his highest tally since joining the club with 13 goals in a very tight league race as Bordeaux edged out Marseille on the last day of the season by three points.

As a French champion, Chamakh's credentials for a move elsewhere have been boosted but barely 24 hours after the title he hinted that he would stay.

Like Chamakh, Bordeaux's Senegalese defender Souleymane Diawara was also basking in the same glory.

Diawara jointly made the most appearances for the club during this campaign.

The other African in the team is Malian Abdou Traore.

There was also star performances by Marseille strikers Bakary Kone from Ivory Coast and his Senegalese team mate Mamadou Niang.

Demba Ba
Demba Ba helped Hoffenheim grab Germany's imagination

Tiny Hoffenheim attracted world attention as table-toppers at the half-way stage of the Bundesliga.

Four Africans played a key role in their campaign, although the small town club eventually finished seventh.

Senegalese striker Demba Ba was their second top scorer with 14 goals.

Wolfsburg eventually emerged as champions but the side managed by Felix Magath had no Africans in their books.

Egyptian Mohamed Zidan did not enjoy such a prolific season with sixth placed Dortmund - scoring only seven goals.

Zambian striker Christopher Katongo made an impact for Arminia Bielefeld, playing 33 times and scoring three goals, but he could not rescue them from relegation, as they finished bottom.


Piers Edwards looks at the African highlights in Italy's Serie A

Sulley Muntari takes on Christian Poulsen of Juventus
Ghana's Sulley Muntari was a vital player for Inter

Ghana's Sulley Muntari was the biggest African winner in Italy this season, as the 24-year-old midfielder won the first league championship of his European career.

Muntari was a consistent figure in Jose Mourinho's title-winning Inter Milan side, playing 25 games and scoring three times, including a match-winner he will not forget against 27-time champions Juventus.

While Nigeria's Victor Obinna made a handful of appearances alongside Muntari, another 'Ghanaian' was also making headlines.

Muscular striker Mario Balotelli, an 18-year-old born to Ghanaian parents but who represents Italy, burst onto the scene with eight league goals.

Elsewhere, Momo Sissoko forced his way into the Juventus side, becoming a regular presence in midfield when injury allowed.

Juve had to settle for second place in the league and automatic entry into next year's Champions League.

At the other end of the table, Axel Cedric Konan, Pape Waigo and Souleymane Diamoutene could not stop their Lecce side from finishing bottom.

However, Mali's Diamoutene moved on loan in the transfer window to AS Roma where he gained invaluable Champions League experience.

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see also
Eto'o the Great
28 May 09 |  African
Drogba given lengthy European ban
18 Jun 09 |  Chelsea
Hiddink revels in Cup achievement
30 May 09 |  Chelsea
Germany's surprise package team
16 Mar 09 |  Football

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