From the amazing goals of Ivorian Yaya Toure to the nimble footedness of Congolese Yannick Bolasie, African footballers are having a party in the English Premier League.
Back home in their respective countries, the popularity of the league is not in doubt; it is a huge cash cow.
A new television deal is seeking to cement the EPL’s inroads into the continent.
The Premier League has agreed a deal with Zimbabwean company Econet. The deal will see Econet’s media entity Kwese gain access to the League’s Free-to-air bouquet offering.
The League has announced a three season-long deal beginning 2016/17 and ending 2018/19.
The matches, along with weekly preview and review shows, will be available in 50 countries across the region.
“Premier League clubs enjoy passionate support across sub-Saharan Africa and these rights are important to ensuring that as many fans as possible can follow and enjoy our competition,” English Premier League Chairman Richard Scudamore said in a statement.
Econet Media CEO Joseph Hundah says “England’s Premier League is a globally prestigious sporting competition, one that is deeply loved by millions of African sports fans. As such we are very committed to obtaining these rights and have invested significantly to acquire them. We want to make this League available to fans across Sub-Saharan Africa and so, through Kwesé Sports FTA partners and other platforms, we hope to widen access to this property.”
Econet owner Strive Masiwiya, who is Zimbabwe’s richest man, celebrated the deal in a blog post.
“For competitive reasons, I will not be able to reveal certain things at this stage.”
Econet now has access to two of the most important sports leagues in soccer; English Premier League and the Spanish League.
A success commercial television success, the EPL continue to enjoy enormous viewership in the continent.
African biggest stars to grace the Premier League?
Nwankwo Kanu – The Nigerian was Fan favorite won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal, before ending his career at Portsmouth, where he won a third FA Cup.
Tony Yeboah – Scorer of some of the greatest ever Premier League goals for Leeds United, including a strike that won the 1995/96 goal of the season.
Didier Drogba – The leading African Premier League scorer with 104, the Ivorian is a legend at former club Chelsea, where he scored the equalizer and winning penalty of the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Also racked up four Premier League titles and six domestic cups in two glorious spells at Stamford Bridge.
Peter Ndlovu – Zimbabwe’s all-time leading scorer was also the first African to play in the newly-created Premier League in 1992, and scored 43 times for Coventry City.
Benni Mccarthy – South African sharpshooter was a revelation for Blackburn Rovers, scoring 24 goals in his debut season, although injuries would slow him down.
Yaya Toure – The Ivorian midfielder has been a revelation at Manchester City since arriving from Barcelona in 2010, winning every domestic trophy at least once and scoring over 70 goals.
Emmanuel Adebayor – Togolese forward enjoyed his best years at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, before mixed experiences at Manchester City, Real Madrid and Tottenham. Now at Crystal Palace, he is the second highest goal scorer in Premier League history with 97.
Riyad Mahrez – The Algerian is tipped to win Player of the Year for an extraordinary season in which he has been involved in more goals than anyone else, driving unfashionable Leicester City to the brink of a first league title in their 132-year history.
Odion Ighalo – Fourteen goals in his first Premier League season has made the Nigerian striker one of the most feared in the land, making him a possible target for Arsenal and Manchester United.