Onana, Aribo, Hakimi - What is still at stake for Africa's stars in Europe?

Andre Onana could put an average English Premier League campaign behind him with victory in Manchester United's FA Cup final against Manchester City. David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

It's business time at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season across Europe's biggest leagues, with silverware, continental qualification and relegation all being decided for Africa's stars abroad.

The likes of Victor Boniface, Achraf Hakimi and Brahim Diaz have all won major honours already this term, but which other African players still have glory in their sights during these final days of the season?


The Premier League title race was decided during a gripping final day, and Manchester City now have the opportunity to complete a domestic double when they face Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final.

It's a repeat of last year's Wembley showpiece, although this year, the Red Devils could feature three African stars as they look to end a tough year on a high note.

All of Andre Onana, Sofyan Amrabat and Amad Diallo have endured testing campaigns, with the first -- a high-profile summer arrival from Internazionale -- making a series of ignominious errors during late 2023, particularly in the Champions League, during a tough start to life in England.

"All together, focus on Wembley," Onana wrote on his Twitter handle this weekend, having kept a clean sheet at Brighton on the final day, although he should expect a busy outing at Wembley, having conceded six across two fixtures against City this term.

Amrabat's maiden season in the Premier League -- on loan from Fiorentina -- has been a miserable experience for player and club, and don't expect his temporary stay at Old Trafford to be extended.

He's been a pale comparison of the midfield general that excelled for Morocco during their run to the 2022 World Cup semifinal, with the intensity of English football clearly proving too much for the 27-year-old.

Amidst ongoing injury problems, expect the North African to bow out with a starting role in Saturday's final.

For wonderkid Amad, it's been a season mottled by injury problems and fitness concerns, even if his stunning winner against Liverpool in the quarterfinals was arguably the highlight of 2023-24 for Erik ten Hag and the Red Devils.

The 21-year-old's recent performance against Newcastle United -- when he had a hand in two goals -- ought to have served Ten Hag with a reminder of the Ivory Coast international's qualities as a potential match-winner, even if the youngster doesn't yet appear to truly have the manager's full trust.

Speaking to Diallo on MUTV after the Magpies match, ex-Red Devils defender Steve Bruce urged the attacker to put pressure on Ten Hag to start him at Wembley. "You know what you're going to do?" Bruce asked Diallo. "Tomorrow you're going to knock on the manager's door to tell him you want to play in the Cup final." We'll see if the Dutch coach heeds Brucey's call...

The other major outstanding issue in English football this season is Sunday's Championship playoff final, which will be contested between Leeds United and Southampton.

Victory would mean an immediate return to the top flight for Saints' African stars including Joe Aribo, Kamaldeen Sulemana, Samuel Edozie and Sekou Mara. Aribo, in particular, could do with a change in fortunes, having struggled to find his feet in the Premier League after swapping Rangers for Southampton in 2022.

After rediscovering his fitness following a sluggish start to the campaign, and now a central part of Russell Martin's plans, Aribo could be returning to something close to his prime form just at the right time for Saints.

Ghana's Sulemana has caught the eye in the second tier with his dribbling ability -- only five players in the division have averaged more successful take-ons per match this term -- but an ongoing lack of end product has proved a frustration for Southampton fans.


On Saturday, Bayer will contest the second of two finals to wrap up a remarkable season as they look to conclude the campaign as invincible treble winners.

No one would have predicted that at the season's star, but with several African stars emerging as key figures, Xabi Alonso's side have stunned German football by winning the Bundesliga without losing a match.

They now face two major finals, with a Dublin showdown against Atalanta in Wednesday's Europa League final preceding Saturday's German Cup meeting with Kaiserslautern in Berlin.

The likes of Rookie of the Year Boniface, Nathan Tella and Amine Adli are all set to be in action as Leverkusen look to become the fifth team to complete a domestic double during the Bundesliga era.

This weekend's opponents can also call on African quartet Almamy Toure, Aaron Opoku, Dickson Abiama and Afeez Aremu.


As in Germany, league champions Paris Saint-Germain are looking to complete a domestic double when they take on resurgent Olympique Lyonnais in Saturday's French Cup final.

PSG may have stuttered in recent weeks -- not least in their Champions League elimination by Borussia Dortmund -- but fullback Hakimi can look back on another fine campaign in which he was runner-up in the Marc-Vivien Foe Award to celebrate the best African player in Ligue 1.

He had a hand in goals in both of PSG's league victories against OL this season, and will look to extend his fine record against Les Gones this weekend. Lyon, for their part, have enjoyed a remarkable upturn in fortunes following a dire start to the season, with Said Benrahma -- on loan from West Ham United -- at the heart of their renaissance.

He'll enter the final in excellent form, with two assists and two goals in his last three league games, even if he made unexpected headlines by being tackled by a pitch-invading supporter as Lyon clinched European qualification on the final day of the league season.


One of three teams will join Sassuolo and Salernitana in relegation on the final day of the Serie A season, with Nigerian consequences for any of the trio in peril.

Tyronne Ebuehi's Empoli need to defeat AS Roma at home to guarantee survival, regardless of the result in the head-to-head showdown between Udinese and Frosinone.

Maduka Okoye's Udinese will almost certainly be safe if Empoli fail to win, regardless of their result against Frosinone, where Hassane Kamara and Isaac Success could also be in action for Le Zebrette.

Caleb Okoli will be hoping to ensure Frosinone can avoid the drop, and only a defeat by Udinese and a victory for Empoli would see them drop into the second tier.


Everything has been settled in the top tier, although three positions remain up for grabs in the race for promotion from the Segunda Division. Leganes, for whom Cameroon duo Allan Nyom and Yvan Neyou Noupa have been influential this term, currently lead the league on 70 points with two matches still to play.


After a rollercoaster few seasons at Chelsea, Hakim Ziyech is finally being appreciated again on loan at Galatasaray, where the 2021 Champions League winner will be expecting to clinch the Turkish Super Lig this weekend.

The domestic giants lead the table with one match to play, three points ahead of fierce rivals Fenerbahce.

Ziyech, who has had a hand in nine goals in 18 matches this term, will get over the line if Gala avoid defeat at Konyaspor on Sunday.

This would also mean a first major honour of Wilfried Zaha's career, following the 31-year-old's switch from Crystal Palace to Istanbul at the start of the campaign.

Despite being overlooked from the Ivory Coast's Africa Cup of Nations squad, the 31-year-old has enjoyed some magnificent performances this term -- not least his two-goal display in the January trouncing of Trabzonspor.

However, Zaha hasn't registered a goal or an assist in his last 14 matches, and would love to rediscover some form as Gala look to pass the 100-point mark. Fenerbahce, for whom Ghana's Alexander Djiku and Bright Osayi-Samuel of Nigeria have featured prominently this term, will pip their rivals on head-to-head if they beat Istanbulspor at home and Galatasaray lose.

Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Faouzi Ghoulam (Hatayspor), Christian Bassogog (Ankaragucu), Papy Djilobodji, Nicolas Nkoulou and Max Gradel (Gaziantep) and Teenage Hadebe (Konyaspor) are among the high-profile African talents still battling against relegation as the final day of the season approaches.