When Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of Manchester United, he did not like signing players from Africa. It was not because he did not believe in their abilities, is was due to them leaving for a month every two years for the African Cup of Nations. The tournament starts in January and lasts until the beginning of February. Ferguson believed that this was a vital part of the Premier League season and would not risk losing key players at this time. It is a time of year that pivotal stages are held in the Champions League and FA Cup. It was also a significant risk that they may get an injury on international duty and be out for a long time. The conditions of the pitches and facilities are not as good as Europe so it increase the risks of injury.
Ferguson has taken risks though on bringing in African players who he thought were exceptional. The most popular African signing was Quinton Fortune, who the fans will remember fondly. Others have not made the grade needed to be a Manchester United players such as Eric Djemba.
Having African players as your team’s leader and star man can backfire. During the 2013 season, Man City lost form when Yaya Toure went to play for Ivory Coast during the African Cup. During the period he was out, the team lost one and drew two matches. These vital points made all the difference as Manchester United went on to snatch the title away that season.
A good betting strategy is to look for teams that heavily rely on key players from Africa. During the season that the African Cup is on, find the best free bet offers to back the opposing team.
It will be down to Van Gaal to decide if he feels there are any players from Africa he would like the club to sign. Currently, there are no major rumours that this is the case. Things can change quickly during the transfer windows, though, so it should not be ruled out altogether. They are the free bets outsider to sign a footballer from this continent this transfer window.