France is a second home for African players — a fact that would be confirmed once again in the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations that will be held in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July.
Out of the 552 players who will feature in the tournament, 95 are playing in France — mostly in Ligue 1 and other lower divisions.
Some of them are among the top contenders to claim the title in Egypt such as Cameroon striker Eric Choupo-Moting, who won the French league with PSG, and Ivorian rising star Nicolas Pepe who was named the best African player in the same competition.
The second country that will be most represented is South Africa with a total of 45 players, with all of them playing top-flight football.
England has become a new attraction for African players, with the Premier League, the Championship and other lower divisions including 43 footballers.
Players based in Europe dominate the squads with a total of 315 players, followed by Africa with 201, 32 in Asia and 4 in the United Stated.
Surprisingly, Zambia, who failed to reach this edition, will also be represented in Egypt as 10 players from other countries are playing in the Zambian league.
Teams with most foreign-based players
Senegal and Cameroon are the only teams whose entire squads comprise overseas players.
While Senegal coach Aliou Cisse only opted for European-based players, Cameroon’s Clarence Seedorf picked Christian Bassogog, best young player in the 2017 Nations Cup who plays for Henan Jianye in China.
Algeria, Ghana and Morocco also heavily rely on foreign-based players as they each only have one player in their domestic competitions.
Teams with most domestic players
With 17 players playing in their domestic league, South Africa are showing great confidence in their local competitions and their top clubs, especially 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Tanzania and Angola come next with 14 and 13 domestic-based players respectively.
Most prestigious arrivals
African players have enjoyed most successes this season in the Premier League. Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah of Egypt, Sadio Mane of Senegal and Naby Keita of Guinea have claimed the UEFA Champions League trophy for the first time.
Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez has won the Premier League title, playing a key role with Manchester City in their title defence.
Mahrez has now two Premier League titles under his belt after winning the competition in 2016 with the unfancied Leicester City, before being named Africa’s best player for the same year.
AFCON 2019 squads breakdown:
Czech Rep: 2
South Africa: 45
DR Congo: 8
Cote d’Ivoire: 2
Guinea Bissau: 2
Saudi Arabia: 18
Source: Karim Farouk