By John Essien
Villarreal President, Fernando Roig has hailed the impact African players have had at the club over the years, noting it was important to promote the continents’ culture and relationship with Europe through football.
The 74-year-old insisted that the best African footballers plying their trade in the Spanish top-flight league represent the Yellow Submarine.
Speaking during an online media parley organized by La Liga, Roig said:
“For me, the best [African] players are those ones in Villarreal, and at the moment, we have got good ones in my team.
“All the African players in Villarreal are very important and we are enjoying them in the team, and we hope they stay [with us] for so many years.
“Honestly, we want the best players to come to Villarreal. Africa is one of the most important continents in terms of its contributions to Spanish and European football.
“And we really have to promote the African [culture] so that we can build bridges between our continents.”
Since the Yellow Submarine was founded 98 years ago, several players from African countries have represented the Estadio de la Ceramica outfit, with names like Ikechukwu Uche (Nigeria), Karl Toko Ekambi (Cameroon), and Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo) coming to mind.
The success of African players in the team over the years led to the acquisition of more players of African heritage coming into the squad lately.
They include Boulaye Dia (Senegal), Arnaut Danjuma (Nigeria), Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire), and Aissa Mandi (Algeria).
In the 2020-21 campaign, Nigerian international Samuel Chukwueze played a starring role as Unai Emery’s men silenced Manchester United to win the Europa League.
Villarreal – who are 13th in the Spanish top-flight log – try Getafe for size on Sunday, before heading for the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos, where they slug it out against Celta Vigo.