RFI and France 24 unveiled on Tuesday the names of the 11 finalists for the 2021 Marc-Vivien Foé Prize, which rewards the best African player who has played in Ligue 1 during the 2020-2021 season.
The 11 contenders for the succession of Nigerian Victor Osimhen, winner of the RFI-France 24 Marc-Vivien Foé 2020 Prize, have just been unveiled. Like last year, this selection, announced on Tuesday April 6, once again gives pride of place to Algerians (three candidates). See you at the end of April for the announcement of the trio of finalists.
Here is the list of the 11 nominees in alphabetical order:
• Nayef Aguerd (Stade Rennais / Morocco)
Transferred last summer from Dijon to Rennes, the one who was trained at the Mohammed VI academy in Rabat has taken another step forward this season. A solid and diligent defender, this son of a former footballer also knows how to turn into a scorer. At 25, this left-hander still has plenty of room for improvement.
• Farid Boulaya (FC Metz / Algeria)
At 28, this creative attacking midfielder has finally established himself at the highest level, having especially shone in the second division in the past. Scorer, passer and especially dribbler, the number 10 Metz shines, to the point of being regularly called up in the Algerian selection, despite the strong competition for his post.
• Andy Delort (Montpellier Hérault Sport Club / Algeria)
The Montpellier has become a safe bet in Ligue 1. The 2019 African champion had certainly finished only 10e of the Prix Marc-Vivien Foé 2020. But, with his often decisive goals and his strong personality, this 29-year-old striker can aim better in the 2021 edition.
• Boulaye Dia (Stade de Reims / Senegal)
Even if he had a slump of two and a half months, Boulaye Dia continues to amaze this season. The one who is among the top scorers in L1 was still evolving in 4e division three years ago. An atypical course which commands respect and attracted the attention of Aliou Cissé, the coach of the Senegal team.
• Seko Fofana (Racing Club de Lens / Ivory Coast)
He is one of the great craftsmen of the beautiful countryside of RC Lens and one of the darlings of the Lensois public. This combative midfielder, who left France as a youngster, clearly took advantage of his experiences in England and especially in Italy, during four seasons at Udinese, to toughen up and thus add tactical maturity to his puncher qualities.
• Idrissa Gueye (PSG / Senegal)
Sometimes contested by PSG supporters, the midfielder seems to have regained confidence since the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino on the sidelines. At 31, the Senegalese is mature enough to focus on one of the big goals of the season: helping Paris to keep its title of champion of France.
• Tino Kadewere (Olympique Lyonnais / Zimbabwe)
Top scorer in Ligue 2 last season with Le Havre, the Zimbabwean was eagerly awaited by Lyon fans. After a few weeks of adaptation, the 25-year-old striker has had a prolific winter. He especially scored points in every sense of the word, offering victory to OL against Saint-Etienne and PSG.
• Gaël Kakuta (Racing Club de Lens / DR Congo)
After wearing the colors of 11 teams in six different countries, the former great hope of French football has found a second youth within his training club. He has already beaten his record for goals scored in a season, in the league. At 29, will he become the first Lensois and the first Congolese winner of the Marc-Vivien Foé Prize?
• Alexandre Oukidja (FC Metz / Algeria)
The doorman took his time to establish his reputation among the elite. But at 32, and after many seasons in the lower divisions, the goalkeeper has become a respected player in his post in Ligue 1. The performance of the 2019 African champion is obviously not unrelated to the fact that the Messins currently have one of the best defenses in L1.
• Reinildo Mandava (Lille OSC / Mozambique)
Rare are the Mozambicans to have shone in France, like Mexer. Reinildo is one of them. The left-back seems to have scored points in Lille, where his professionalism, his fighting spirit and his defensive solidity are highly appreciated, especially during big Ligue 1 meetings.
• Karl Toko-Ekambi (Olympique Lyonnais / Cameroon)
Will the 2018 Marc-Vivien Prize winner imitate the Ivorian Gervinho (crowned in 2010 and 2011) and achieve the double? Mocked for a moment by Lyon supporters for his lack of success, the Cameroonian has regained all his bite and forms a formidable trio of attackers with Kadewere and the Dutch Memphis Depay.
NB: players who have worn the colors of an African national team and have played at least 15 matches in Ligue 1 this season are eligible for the Marc-Vivien Foé prize.
• The winners of previous editions:
2020: Victor Osimhen
2019: Nicolas Pépé (Ivory Coast)
2018: Karl Toko-Ekambi (Cameroon)
2017: Jean Michaël Seri (Ivory Coast)
2016: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco)
2015: André Ayew (Ghana)
2014: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
2013: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
2012: Younès Belhanda (Morocco)
2011: Gervinho (Ivory Coast)
2010: Gervinho (Ivory Coast)
2009: Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)