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31.05.2008 11:07

Barça’s sixth African signing

Berta Brau

Seydou Keita is, apart from being the first Malian player in Barça’s history, the sixth African player to sign for the Catalan club. Mendonça, Amunike, Okunowo, Eto'o and Touré all preceded the signing of Keita.

The first African signing came about 67 years after the club was founded. However, it’s only during the last twelve years that African born players have had a real impact on the club.

Mendonça: the first African

In 1966 Jorge Alberto Mendonça passed into the history books by becoming the first African to don the azulgrana shirt. Arriving via Atletico Madrid, the Angolan striker had a great first season but slowly his performances waned, though he did win the Spanish Cup in 67/68.

The two Nigerians

Another 30 years passed before the second African signing arrived in the form of Nigerian Emmanuel Amunike. He signed from Sporting Lisbon and despite playing 33 games and scoring 3 goals in two seasons, his career with Barça was dogged by numerous knee injuries. Nevertheless, he managed to win six trophies with Barça (League 97/98, Cup Winners’ Cup 96/97, European Super Cup 1997, Spanish Cup 96/97 and 97/98 and Spanish Super Cup 1996).

Amunike left his position to another Nigerian, Okunowo, who was signed by Louis van Gaal. The defender won the Dutch manager’s confidence from the start and stayed with the club for two seasons, winning the league title in 98/99.

The arrival of Samuel Eto'o

fcb-stuttgart-ETOxO.jpgIn 2004 Barça signed the 23-year-old Cameroonian from Mallorca. He was unsettled and had a hunger for scoring goals and quickly became Barça’s African player par excellence. We don’t speak of any other but Samuel Eto’o. Goals, fighting spirit, character, feelings of belonging to Barça are just some of his defining characteristics.

Two Africans in two seasons

fcb-bilbao-tourx.jpgIvorian, solid, committed and a great midfielder - these are some of the traits of Touré Yaya, the fifth African signing in Barça’s history. Touré arrived at Barça to bolster the defensive midfield and,despite not winning any trophies, the Ivorian has proven his tactical prowess and commitment to the club.

Now Seydou Keita has arrived from Seville as Barça’s sixth African signing with a desire to fight and excel at the Catalan club.
Barça’s sixth African signing
Three more Africans
Apart from the six players mentioned above, you must remember that Suffo (1997/98), Babangida (1998-2001) and Serigne (1998) are three more African players who were involved with the first team without officially being a part of it, in that they played in the youth teams and, in the case of Serigne, for example, played in pre-season friendlies.

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