French Ligue1, EPL stars dominate 2019 AFCON
The French Ligue 1 and English Premiere League (EPL) have the highest number of African stars that will feature at the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) starting in Egypt on Friday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the newly expanded 24 -team competition with 552 registered players will have 315 of them from Europe, where most African stars ply their trade.
The French Ligue, where most francophone players ply their trade have 95 players, followed closely by the English league with 43 players.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have three key players in the EPL with two others in the lower division (English Championship)
They include Wilfred Ndidi ( Leicester City), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Leon Balogun (Brighton and Hove Albion) While Captain Mikel Obi (Middesbrough) and Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke) played in the Championship last season.
Current African footballer of the year Mohammed Sallah of Egypt and Senegalese Saido Mane of Champions League winners, Liverpool are the biggest stars of the AFCON and they both play in the EPL.
A breakdown of the 552 players registered by the 24 teams shows that 315 play in Europe with the French Ligue 1 and other lower divisions in France accounting for 95 players.
England comes second with 45 players from the EPL, Championship and the lower leagues.
There are 201 players from leagues in Africa while 32 are from Asia and four from North America.
In Africa, South Africa have 45 players, Egypt 24 and Tunisia 14 players representing their countries in the 2019 AFCON.
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) have just one player, Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa who plays for Katsina United.
The 2019 AFCON will begin of Friday in Egypt with the host taking on Zimbabwe.
The Super Eagles will open their campaign on Saturday against debutants, Burundi.
The competition will end on July 19 with the crowning of a new AFCON champion.