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  Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Africans' bizarre Bundesliga antics
Sammy Kuffour
Kuffour (right) has fully established himself at Bayern

There appears to be something about Germany that triggers strange things in the brains of many of Africa's top footballers.

Taribo West, Hani Ramzy, Sammy Kuffour, Sunday Oliseh - if one thing is certain about Africans in Germany, it is that they are incapable of having a quiet season.

Schalke's Nigerian winger Victor Agali perhaps typified this in the German Cup final - he scored once, set up another, and then got sent off in extra time.

Schalke still won 4-2, with Agali very much the hero, but others have not shone so brightly in the Bundesliga floodlights.

West's bizarre sacking from Kaiserslautern for calling in sick for a league match and then flying to Milan to attend his own birthday party meant that he became a free agent before the World Cup, although he is yet to find a new team.

Egyptian Ramzy was also briefly sacked by the same club after sexually assaulting a fan, although an apology later had him reinstated.

But he has now been told he has no place at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion anyway due to a very different reason.

Scrapheap

The collapse of German media giant Kirsch has led to a massive drive to cut costs at most Bundesliga clubs - and some of Africa's top players are feeling the squeeze hardest.

Dortmund pair Oliseh and Victor Ikpeba - neither of whom played enough games last season to qualify enough for a championship winner's medal - are the most high-profile names rusting quietly on the scrapheap that is the German reject list.

There they are joined by others such as Leverkusen's Nigerian Pascal Karibe Ojigwe, Hertha Berlin's Cameroonian Joel Tchami and Stuttgart's South African Bradley Carnell.

Taribo West
West was fired by Kaiserslautern after his Italian excursion
But one name, of course, is unlikely to have to face such a prospect - for some time at least.

Ghanaian Sammy Kuffour, the current BBC African Footballer of the Year, had perhaps his best season for giants Bayern Munich last season, emerging as every bit the equal of the world class talents around him at the Olympic Stadium.

And Bayern are the favourites to take the title this next season, having secured the signatures of Ze Roberto, Michael Ballack and Sebastian Deisler.

It could be that 2003 is the year Kuffour makes the biggest noise of all.


New seasons kick off
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