Ranking Leeds United’s greatest African players

Mon, 20 Jul 2020 Source: goal.com

Following their qualification to the Premier League, Goal rank the top seven African stars to represent the Yorkshiremen

#7 Sol Bamba

Something of a figure of fun for much of his career, Bamba’s physical qualities were somewhat undermined by his capacity for making a mindless error or two—notably at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

He was dropped for Didier Zokora during the 2010 World Cup, and cut altogether by Herve Renard ahead of the 2015 Nations Cup success.

Bamba ended his career in English football strongly, joining Leeds from Palermo, and then helping current club Cardiff City to reach the Premier League.

#6 Phil Masinga

Masinga arrived at Leeds in 1994 following an outstanding goalscoring spell with Mamelodi Sundowns, having previously excelled with Jomo Cosmos at the beginning of his career.

Unlike his compatriot Lucas Radebe, Masinga struggled to show his best form at Leeds, although he did slam a hat-trick past lower-league Walsall in 1995.

He was an Africa Cup of Nations champion with Bafana Bafana in 1996, and represented South Africa at the World Cup two years later.

#5 Max Gradel

A bright light for Leeds during a difficult period, Gradel signed permanently after a successful loan spell from Leicester City, and helped the Elland Road heavyweights secure promotion from League One to the Championship in 2010.

He was named both Players’ and Fans’ Player of the Year in 2011, before moving on to Saint-Etienne.

A return to Bournemouth in 2015 didn’t go to plan, and Gradel was relegated with troubled Toulouse from the French top flight this season.

#4 Albert Johanneson

A pioneer during the 1960s, Johanneson was promoted with Leeds and Don Revie in 1964, before representing the Whites in the FA Cup final a year later.

United were defeated on that occasion, and Johanneson struggled to make the most of the high-profile event, although he did become the first player of African descent to play in the prestigious match.

Fitness issues and, later, alcohol problems, meant that those mid-60s successes were the highlight of his career, and the South African wideman passed away prematurely in his beloved Leeds.

#3 El-Hadji Diouf

Twice an African footballer of the year, Diouf excelled for Senegal as they reached the 2002 World Cup quarter-final, but struggled to impress in the Premier League with Liverpool.

He subsequently carved out a place for himself with dogged battlers such as Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland and Blackburn Rangers—never truly realising his potential—before ending up with Leeds in 2012.

Despite promising to become a legend at the club, his behaviour let him down, and he only played one full season with the Yorkshire giants.

#2 Anthony Yeboah

Like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Yeboah demonstrated his goalscoring qualities in the Bundesliga—he was twice a top scorer with Eintracht Frankfurt—and then netted 24 goals across his first 40 appearances with Leeds.

A scorer of some outrageous goals, Yeboah was one of only two players—along with Gareth Bale—to have won back-to-back Goal of the Month awards.

He was a defeated League Cup finalist with Leeds in 1996.

#1 Lucas Radebe

Voted the 16th greatest player in Leeds’ history in 2004, Radebe was a composed and elegant presence in the heart of the backline during the 90s and early 00s for the Yorkshire giants, and was part of the side that enjoyed some magical nights in the Champions League.

His loyalty endeared him to United fans following his move from Kaizer Chiefs—he was reportedly approached by Manchester United—although he ended his time at Elland Road with no tangible silverware.

The highlight of his international career was the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations success, under the watching eyes of Nelson Mandela.

Source: goal.com
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