Africa will be cheering for Rangers in tonight’s Europa League finals

Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Sevilla, Lyon, Porto, Napoli…all these favorites were expected to either win or participate in the Europa League final, and yet, non of them reached semi-finals. Instead, two dark horses will face each other in one of the least attractive Europa League finals (at least on paper) in years: Glasgow Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt. Both clubs had a great campaigns throughout the European’s second tier competition, and defeated some big names like Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, West Ham and will look to add their second European trophy (Rangers has one Cup Winners Cup in 1972) or their first (Frankfurt played only one final, in 1980’s UEFA Cup) on Wednesday at the ’Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan’ stadium in Seville. Make Us Dream#UEL— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) May 18, 2022 And as far as Africa is concerned, Glasgow Rangers already won 6-1. In the current squads, there are six Africans playing for the Scottish team, while Frankfurt has only one. Defenders Calvin Bassey (Nigeria) and Leon Balogun (Nigeria), and forwards Joe Aribo (Nigeria), Amad Diallo (Ivory Coast) and Fashion Sakala (Zambia) could all be involved in Wednesday’s final against Eintracht Frankfurt, for which only Almamy Toure from Mali could play. The only 100% name to start is Joe Aribo, who proved to be a key player for the Scots since his arrival from Charlton in 2019. The Nigerian midfielder has been an ever-present threat and played in different positions, but missed only one European game so far. Make. Yourselves. Immortal. 🦅🏆 #SGEuropa #SEVILLJAAAAA— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_us) May 17, 2022 He became a Nigeria international after qualifying through his parents and scored in his first two games for the national team against Ukraine and Brazil, but as everybody else, he came under criticism after they failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup. And now, Aribo is fully focused on the finals, the first one for Rangers after 50 years. “It means a lot to us. We know how big it is, for us personally but also for the club. It’s a massive one for us“ said the Nigerian ahead of the game.Rangers and Frankfurt roll back the years for retro Europa League finalBassey, Balogun, Diallo and Sakala could also feature, depending on the form and tacticial ideas of the coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Centre-back Balogun played more than 30 games this season and at one point was a regular for Rangers, and even scored two goals in the Europa League. Injuries to Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe could see striker Sakala getting even more playing time. Zambian forward is still settling in Scotland after moving from Belgium at the end of the last season, but with other strikers in the team, Morelos in particular, his place in the squad was usually limited to a 15-20 minutes from a bench. Sakala is still very raw, but has a great amount of pace and he will surely get his 15 minutes in this final, unless he doesn’t start from the first minute. The same destiny probably awaits Almamy Toure. The Malian international has been used here and there by the Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner (10 games in Bundesliga, 7 in Europa League) and looking at Knauff’s form recently, it seems that Toure will observe this final on the bench.

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