The New Golden Age of African Excellence Is Here as Trio Share Golden Boot Award

After the Premier League was created in 1992, ​it took nine seasons for an African player to finish in the top ten in the race for the Premier League's Golden Boot, as Malian Frederic Kanoute, then of West Ham United, scored 11 in the 2000/01 campaign.

This season, the top prize was shared by three Africans: Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The league has gone from one dominated by Brits to the ultimate hub of global talent, and that has never been more evident than after the trio's triumph.

African footballers have been a part of the division since its inception - Zimbabwe international Peter Ndlovu became the first player from the continent to feature in the ​Premier League when he played for Coventry City in 1992 - but they were little more than a small addition into what was an overwhelmingly English league.

At the time, Africa simply had not been given the chance to show what it had. Fortunately, that slowly began to change.

The likes of Nwankwo Kanu and the human highlight reel Tony Yeboah made their way to the league in the 1990s, and fans across the country sat up and took note. 

Then, players such as Kolo and Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Emmanuel Adebayor came to England and took the league by storm. Not only were these players great, but they were some of the best to ever ply their trade in the Premier League.

Players like these helped boost Africa's reputation amongst fans of the Premier League, and it is with this newly discovered sense of power that ​Salah​Mane and ​Aubameyang have taken over in England.

These three are by no means the only Africans leaving their marks on the Premier League. The likes of ​Riyad Mahrez and ​Naby Keita are further examples of just how strong the African influence on the league is in this day and age, but also they are testaments to the work rate and desire of the players in Africa.

Riyad Mahrez

With routes to the Premier League now as clear as ever, players from within Africa are full of hope that they can make it to England and replicate the successes of those who came before them. Some clubs have academies set up there, whilst others specialise in their scouting trips to the continent. 

Even those players who begin in another European league are viewed as potential gems who could become the next Drogba, or the next Toure. Africa clearly knows how to produce footballers and, thankfully, we live in a society which is well aware of this fact.

No longer can we just think about a handful of great African talents. There are hundreds who have made it to the Premier League, many of whom will go down in history as some of the best to ever lace up a pair of boots.

Salah, Mane and Aubameyang may not have been here for long, but they have proven that they are good enough to stay for as long as they want. The league is better with their talents, as well as with the global following that comes with them.

These African players are the heartbeat of the Premier League, and long may it continue.

Source : 90min