CAPE TOWN – With the best coach in the world, a sprinkling of the top players money can buy, including some from Africa, Manchester City on Sunday won the English Premier League, ironically without kicking a ball.
With City’s fierce local rivals Manchester United plunging to a shock defeat against the bottom club, West Brom at Old Trafford on Sunday, City were crowned the new champions with no team now able to overtake them on the league table.
Coach Pep Guardiola, who has taken advantage of the huge amount of money he received from the club’s Abu Dhabi owners, did not even bother to watch United’s defeat, instead opting for a round of golf.
But he has proved that City are by far the best team in the League and are deserving champions.
Though their African stars, Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure and Senegal’s Benjamin Mendy, did not play as much as they would have liked to, their talents, combined with the sublime Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and captain Vincent Company, have ensured City cannot be overtaken, with five games to play this season.
That record rivals that of Manchester United, who also won the League a few years back with five games to spare, with defending League champions Chelsea winning in 2016/17 with three games to play.
That team, of course, featured African star Nigeria’s Victor Moses, whose career took off when manager Antonio Conte converted him from an ordinary player to the specialised role of wing-back.
Though City were always favourites to romp away with the title this season, despite a horrendous last 10 days in which they were beaten by Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final, they quickly got back on track in Saturday’s League match by outplaying Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at Wembley.
Liverpool, who still have a chance of finishing second to Man City before the season ends in May, have long had a history of fielding African-born players - from Zimbabwean goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar to current stars like Egyptian Mo Salah and Senegal’s Sadio Mane.
Salah has already scored 40 goals this year and is line to win Footballer of the Year.
Salah, in fact, is the League’s top-scorer with 30 goals and four games remaining for Liverpool this season. Tottenham’s Harry Kane is second with 25 goals, but Spurs have five games left.
But finally it is kudos to Man City manager Guardiola who has now won League titles in Spain with Barcelona, Germany with Bayern Munich and now in England.
And with more money coming from owner Sheikh Mansour in the off-season, Pep will continue to build on the City dynasty for years to come.
African News Agency (ANA)