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From Lukaku To Alaba, Meet The Players With African Descent At Euro 2016

On the 10th of June, 2016, heads would be turned to France as the UEFA European Championship wou...


On the 10th of June, 2016, heads would be turned to France as the UEFA European Championship would kickoff. 

The Euro 2016 will be the 15th edition of the competition and will be the first time the tournament will be contested by 24 teams after being expanded from the previous format of 16 teams.

While the tournament will be hosted in Europe, Africa’s presence would be felt indirectly as players from the continent play for different countries participating in the competition. 

Here at Wolexis.com, we decided to bring to you, EURO 2016’s XI of African Descent.

Steve Mandanda, France.
Mandada was nicknamed“Frenchie” by his relatives after opting to play for France than his country of birth.

The Marseille’s goalie was born in Kinshasa, Zaire and has gone on to represent Les Bleus 21 times since joining the French U21s in 2003. 
Mandanda who is Les Blues back up goalkeeper with Lloris the obvious first choice has three younger brothers who are professional footballers as well, with one of them currently with the Congolese national team.

Johan Djourou, Switzerland.
The Hamburg captain slides in at right back for us on this one. Johan Danon Djourou-Gbadjere plays for Switzerland and has 59 caps to his international career with him just scoring two goals so far.

The Swiss defender’s story could have been different having been born in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. 
Djourou would miss out on an emotional return to the continent having missed out on joining the squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa having missed a large portion of the season with Arsenal.

Jerome Boateng, Germany.
Boateng, who currently plays for Bayern Munich, is Afro-German having been born to a German mother and a Ghanaian father.

Jerome would be called early to the German setup as early as 2004 with his stints with the German U17 team and has gone on to make 59 appearances. 
Boateng has a half-sibling Kevin-Prince Boateng who chose to play for Ghana rather Germany.

Also Read: Kevin Prince Boateng & The Top 10 Most Fashionable Football Couples

Interestingly, in the 2010 World Cup both players would face each other; the first time brothers would play on opposite sides at the World Cup.

This would happen later again when both teams were drawn in the same group in 2014. Jerome is still yet to visit Ghana.

David Alaba, Austria.
David Alaba of Nigerian descent currently plays for his country of birth Austria.

The Bayern Munich fullback, who was born to a Nigerian prince from Ogun state, could have played for Nigeria in his earlier years after expressing desire to play for the Super Eagles but said was turned down after making enquiries on the possibility of joining the Golden Eaglets. 
Alaba (which means "the second time after a set of twins  in yoruba) would make history however by being the youngest footballer to play for Austria and has cemented his status as an important player down the years.

Alaba has gone on to play 42 times for the Austrian team scoring an impressive 11 goals.

Patrice Evra, France.
The former Man Utd defender was born in Dakar, Senegal to a Guinean father who was a diplomat and a Cape Verdean mother. 
The fullback  moved to Belgium when he was a year old with his father working at the Senegalese embassy and would move to France two years later.

Evra is one of 25 children and would return to Senegal at the age of 10 but would describe the return as a not-so friendly one and has yet to visit the country since then.

For more articles on Euros 2016, click HERE

Evra would come out to say he suffered racial abuse at the hands of supporters of the Senegalese team for taking the option of playing for France rather than for Senegal.

The Juventus fullback has made 68 appearances so far for the French team and had captained the side at the 2010 World Cup.

Leroy Sane, Germany.
The German right winger could easily have played for Senegal with his father Souleymane Sane representing the side 55 times.

The 20 year old joined the German setup in 2014 with the U19s and his inclusion in the Euros is a testament to how quick the player has risen with top clubs in pursuit for him. 
One would expect however that his presence in the Euros would generally be for the experience going forward with the squad.

Young Sane has 3 caps so far and has been touted as one of the favorites to watch by us in the Euros. Sane has dual German and French citizenship.

N’golo Kante, France.
A phenomenon in Leicester City this season has seen himself called up to the French squad.

The French born player was born to Malian parents and could have represented them years back but refused with hope of doing so later on but a Les Bleus appearance has seen that possibility eroded. 
During his time at Caen, Kante was regularly invited by the Malian Football Association and while he was keen on taking that up felt it was not the right time.

His former boss believed during the season that Kante would join the Malian squad instead of France.

However, his decision to play for his birth country has seen him register four appearances with the host nation and bag a goal in his first start for the French team.

Dele Alli, England.
Bamidele Alli representing the Three Lions at the Euros was eligible to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria as his father was a Nigerian.
Alli at the age of 5 would come to Nigeria to stay with his dad Kenny but would return back to England after half a year as the move did not work out quite well.
Alli’s decision to play for England would come on Nigeria’s independence day breaking many hearts who wished to see the burgeoning star play in the middle of the park for the Super Eagles.

Alli, a must watch at Euros, has  represented England 8 times scoring just one goal.

Luis Nani, Portugal.
The former Man Utd winger was born in Cape Verde and would leave at an early age with his family to Portugal.

His rise to the top is not one without heart-touching stories. After leaving Cape Verde to Portugal at an early age, Nani would see his father leave him behind when he was five and his mother would follow suit when the player clocked twelve. 
Nani would be surrounded by nine siblings from his mom and five from his dad and his first club would offer him money, food, and get him his passport.

Nani would rise above it all and join the Portugese first team in 2006 and has gone on to score 17 goals in 95 appearances for Portugal, making him the fourth-highest capped player.

Breel Embolo, Switzerland.
Born in Yaounde, Cameroon, Embolo represents the Swiss side now after gaining citizenship in 2014. His mother would move him and his sibling to Basel as she saw no hope for them in Cameroon. 
Embolo would join the Swiss setup in 2012 playing for the U16, U20, and U21 before breaking into the first team still 19.

The 19 year old striker has 10 caps to his name so far bagging just a single goal and many would be hoping to catch a glimpse of the striker who mentioned Mario Balotelli as one of his inspirations.

Romelu Lukaku, Belgium.
Leading the spear head of the attack is Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku who was born in North Belgium to Congolese parents.

The powerful striker is the son of former DR Congo international Roger Lukaku who represented the country numerous times playing in the AFCON tournament multiple times. 
Lukaku has so far scored 12 goals in 44 appearances for the Belgian team and also has a brother Jordan in the squad as well who was invited by Claude Le Roy to the Congolese camp but stuck with Belgium.

The starting XI 
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Author: @ChukaMVP

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Nigeria's Online Sports Magazine: From Lukaku To Alaba, Meet The Players With African Descent At Euro 2016
From Lukaku To Alaba, Meet The Players With African Descent At Euro 2016
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Nigeria's Online Sports Magazine
http://www.wolexis.com/2016/06/from-lukaku-to-dele-alli-meet-euro-2016.html
http://www.wolexis.com/
http://www.wolexis.com/
http://www.wolexis.com/2016/06/from-lukaku-to-dele-alli-meet-euro-2016.html
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