With the transfer windows now closed in Africa, we take a look at the most eye-catching transfers of the summer transfer window.
Ben Malango | TP Mazembe to Raja Casablanca
TP Mazembe have become a club renowned for hoarding, and some say imprisoning talent, to the extent they have been dubbed a ‘golden prison’ and ‘luxury refugee camp’ by some wise souls on social media. There may be some truth to that with so many of their star players locked down to long-term contracts and having to use the dark arts to break free.
One successful escapee has been striker Ben Malango, though it was an ordeal which seemed to last an eternity. His former club maintained he was still under contract but Raja Casablanca were prepared to take the matter to FIFA and came out on top, signing him as a free agent.
Once he acclimatises to Morocco, he should add firepower into an attacking that is devastating when it clicks. But the saga is not over yet. Malango only has a temporary license to play, restricting him from CAF competitions, until the matter is settled.
Aristide Bance | Free Agent to Horoya AC
The Burkina Faso striker continues to add to the list of teams he’s played for, seemingly being willing to play anywhere, deviating from African football trends to go from Sub Sahara to North or South Africa.
To take a pinch of his last few transfers, he’s gone from Finland to Kazakhstan to South Africa to ivory Coast to Egypt before going back to US des Forces Armees in the Burkina Faso Premier League earlier this year.
Now he’s in Guinea. Horoya AC made a host of signings in the summer window but none was more eye-catching than the Prince of Burkina Faso. They will be relaxed in the knowledge that they have a poster boy and a player for the clutch moments. And then he’ll probably head off to Papua New Guinea to add another country to his collection.
Idriss Mbombo | Al Hilal Omdurman to Nkana Red Devils
The Congolese striker controversially left Al Hilal due to an unpaid instalment of a sign on fee. While Al Hilal claimed it was a lapse in concentration and they were willing to pay him when he returned, Mbombo didn’t believe them.
A glamorous move to another big African club was expected but he went back to Nkana, where it all started, after breaking free from his contract. One step forward two steps back, perhaps, but home is where the heart is, with Zambia bordering his home country DR Congo.
He has, of course, shown the form that saw him courted by so many clubs in Africa during his first spell, quickly ascending to the cream of the goal-scoring charts.
Aliou Dieng | MC Alger to Al Ahly
When you think Malian midfielders, images of the imposing figures of Momo Sissoko and Samba Sow can quickly come into your head. Dieng is slight physically but brings a natural strength with him that allows him to shield the ball with ease and beat the pressing of opposing midfielders.
Usually positioned as a sitting midfielder or central midfielder, his ability to take players out of the game with his midfield surges is a rare quality on the continent and sets him apart as a young midfielder.
Aged just 22, Al Ahly invested $1m to acquire the Malian midfielder and make him the most eye catching transfer in Africa last summer. Just over a year at MC Alger made Africa’s most successful club splash their cash and give him a fat five year contract.
Gerson Fraga Vieira | Atletico Kolkatta to Simba
The defensive midfielder was the Brazil captain at the U17 World Cup in 2009, leading the likes of Alisson, Casemiro, Coutinho and Neymar. Skip forward ten years and he’s playing for Simba in Tanzania after moving from Atletico Kolkatta in the Indian Premier League.
News of his signing, along with two other Brazilians, saw Simba social media on fire. The yearning for Brazilian flair, and the fact, was enough to make even the most pessimistic of fans excited. The only English speaker out of the Brazilian group, he has doubled up as a translator.
After a slow start where his legs looked heavy, Fraga has regained match fitness and endeared himself to the crowd with his combative tendencies. He points to the major injuries he sustained while a youth player as the reasons for his career derailing as he was unable to keep up with the talent Brazil churned. He’s taken to Tanzania and Simba though and is gradually becoming a fan’s favourite.