Arsene Wenger says African players have had a huge impact on his career as a football manager highlighting Kanu, Kolo Toure and George Weah as three of his favourites.
Answering a question from BBC Africa in his pre-Burnley press conference – a gathering dominated by questions about his 20-year tenure at Arsenal – the boss reflected on a relationship with African players that started while in charge at Monaco.
“African players had a massive impact on my career because I always managed them right from the moment I started in the top league in France,” said Wenger.
“I had African players at Monaco and I like the fact that they were creative and they are usually attacking players with imagination. They have pace and power as well, and they usually combine strength and agility well. That’s very difficult to find.
“Africans are hugely passionate people and there is a big passion in Africa for the game. They are happy on the football pitch and that’s something which has been fantastic for us.
“Kanu had a massive impact here, Kolo Toure too, I had George Weah too… so all these players had a massive impact.”
Wenger’s relationship with Liberian striker Weah was so strong that the player dedicated his FIFA World Player of the Year award to his manager.
In a recent interview with FIFA TV, Weah reflected: “Every time I was going on the field. I was playing for Arsene Wenger.
“I wanted him to know that what he had done for me, this is the way I could pay him. I would break my knee, my hand, my face for him just to win the game.
“He took care of me like a son and I couldn’t believe that because when racism was at its peak, Arsene taught me that black men and white men can live together.”
Who knows, the way things are going for young Alex Iwobi you’d back him to make the list when Arsene celebrates his 30th anniversary