Eight things to know about African players in the English Premier League

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Sadio ManeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionSadio Mane signed for Liverpool for £34m ($45m), becoming Africa’s most expensive player

The English Premier League has released the official list of 25-player squads for the 2016/17 season. The BBC’s Stanley Kwenda looks at seven things about the African players in the Premier League.

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Nine per cent

There are 46 African players plying their trade in the Premier League this season – that’s an increase of one from last season.

This is around 9% of the total of 500 players.

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Full suit

Every club in the league has an African player

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Team Senegal

Senegal has the largest contingent of players in the league, with eight, followed by Ivory Coast with six, Nigeria with five, Algeria four while Ghana has three.

Cheikhou KouyateImage copyrightAFP
Image captionSenegal’s captain Cheikhou Kouyate plays for West Ham

The country can almost make its own premier league team. It has a fine balance of wingers, strikers and defenders:

Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham United)

Diafra Sakho (West Ham United)

Pape Souare (Crystal Palace)

Idrissa Gana (Everton)

Oumar Niasse (Everton)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City)

Papi Djilobodji (Sunderland)

All they need is a goalkeeper.

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No goalkeeper

Strangely, there is no African goalkeeper among the 45 African players in the premier league. Well, unless you want to count Steve Mandanda, the DR Congo-born Crystal Palace goalkeeper who plays his international football with France.

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Leicester 5 – Sunderland 5

Leicester City's Ahmed MusaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAhmed Musa boosted the African presence in Leicester City
Andre AyewImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionGhana’s Andre Ayew joined West Ham from Swansea City over the summer

Premier League champions Leicester City and Sunderland have the highest African representation with five players each.

Everton, Watford and West Ham United follow closely with four players each:https://www.premierleague.com/news/84136

Sunderland has a rich African history. It has been home to some of Africa’s greatest footballers such as Cameroon’s Patrick Mboma, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah, Zimbabwe’s Benjani Mwaruwari and Morocco Talal El Karkouri.

Last year Crystal Palace had the highest number of African players, with five in total but it has since gone down to three.

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Two firsts

Equatorial Guinea and Libya have their first Premier League players this season in the form of Middlesbrough defender Emilio Nsue and Manchester United’s Sadik El Fitouri, respectively.

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Costly defender

Eric Bailly and team mate Zlatan IbrahimovicImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionManchester United’s Eric Bailly and team mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ivory Coast Defender Eric Bailly is one of the highest profile African players to join the Premier League this season. His £30m ($40m) transfer fee ranks him among the most expensive defenders.

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