LaLiga’s reputation on the African continent is growing, thanks to the performances of 32 players from 14 African countries on the books of LaLiga teams.
This season, African players have played increasingly important roles for their clubs, with several exceptional performances recognized by LaLiga in the selection of the LaLiga Santander Mid Season African Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the 2022/23 season.
Many of Africa’s finest football journalists will vote for their choice of Africa’s LaLiga Mid Season MVP, while a public vote will be held across the African continent and globally on LaLiga’s social media channels beginning January 9 to choose the winning player.
The inaugural African MVP Award last season was won by Sevilla FC’s fantastic Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who has staked a strong claim to retain his award with some stellar performances in leading Morocco to its historic first FIFA World Cup semi-final appearance by an African nation at Qatar 2022.
After leading Sevilla to title contention and UEFA Champions League spots in recent years, it’s been a very different season for Sevilla this time round as they battle relegation, with Bono finding clean sheets much harder to come by.
His Moroccan Sevilla FC teammate Yousseff En-Nesyri attracted global acclaim for his stunning leaping header in knocking Portugal out of the FIFA World Cup quarter finals, but he’s also struggled to find the net in LaLiga this season and will need to start scoring to lift Sevilla out of the league’s trenches.
A strong contender for the LaLiga Santander Mid Season African MVP is Mozambique’s exciting left back Renildo Mandava, who has been brilliant for Atletico Madrid in patrolling the left flank with his strong defensive performances as an ever-present this season for Diego Simeone.
El Cholo is not an easy manager to please, but he has given huge responsibility to the Mozambican international, who has not disappointed him with a wonderful debut season thus far at Civitas Metropolitano for Atleti after joining from Lille.
Mandava’s African teammate, Central African Republic’s Geoffrey Kondogbia, has also made some consistent contributions in defensive midfield for Atleti this season.
No conversation about an African MVP in LaLiga is complete without mentioning Getafe’s Djene Dakonam.
The Togolese centre back is a Getafe icon, the first African to captain a LaLiga side and he has been worth his weight in gold for Getafe since joining The Azulones in 2017.
He doesn’t grab too many headlines, but he is adored by Getafe fans for his rugged, consistent performances in the heart of their defence and he’s wracked up over 1 000 important minutes in Getafe’s season thus far.
Another impressive African centre back who has a good LaLiga season to date is Celta de Vigo’s Joseph Aidoo, the full-throttle Ghana Black Stars defender who has been excellent for Vigo this season.
Another serious contender for the MVP award this season is Athletic Bilbao’s Iñaki Williams, another LaLiga player who impressed in Qatar, putting in some strong performances in Ghana’s plucky World Cup showing after his popular decision to represent the Black Stars in international competition.
He’s been outstanding again in midfield for Bilbao this season in their hunt for a UEFA Champions League spot.
Other notable African performers in LaLiga this season are the likes of Villareal’s Senegalese winger Nicholas Jackson and his countryman Pathé Ciss, who has been solid in midfield for Rayo Vallecano.
“We are excited about the wide array of African players from so many different countries who have excelled and made their mark on LaLiga Santander this season. The African MVP Award competition has exceeded all our expectations in its first year and is set to be even bigger this season, as African football fans get the chance to engage LaLiga and vote for their standout players of the season,” said Marcos Pelegrin, LaLiga Southern Africa Managing Director.
Voting for the LaLiga African Mid Season MVP has opened on 16th January 2023 and will close on 29th of January 2023, in what is sure to be a hotly contested public vote.
Members of the public can vote on the link: https://play.laliga.es/pub/msafricanmvp.
There will then be another vote for the LaLiga Santander African MVP at the end of the season.