Chelsea supporters in Africa – Goalpedia
The Blues are far from the oldest clubs in the world, but they have a huge fan base in Africa. How could it be?
Chelsea’s presence in Africa was first felt when South African Ralph Oelofse became the first African to play for the Blues in their 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion on March 1, 1952.
This historic moment brought the club to the consciousness of Africans who at the time supported family clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Ajax and not to mention Nottingham Forest.
Despite the presence of talents of African descent like Derek Smethurst, Colin Viljoen, Roy Wegerle, Mark Stein, Joel Kitamirike and Marcel Desailly at the London club, their fan base in Africa has remained scarce.
Surprisingly, the club’s fan base on the world’s second largest and second most populous continent saw a massive increase after Roman Abramovich took over from Ken Bates as owner of the Stamford Bridge Giants in 2003.
Goal try to explain why this is so!
What are the factors that make Chelsea so popular in Africa?
The club’s connection with famous African players can be attributed to this increase in fan numbers. First, Celestine Babayaro joined the squad in 1997 from Anderlecht for a transfer fee of £ 2.25million – a club paid record for a teenager at the time.
Three seasons later, George Weah, winner of the 1995 Ballon d’Or, joined the club on loan from AC Milan.
After the arrival of José Mourinho, various leading African players like Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou, Geremi Njitap and John Obi Mikel were acquired and featured in his star team.
Season after season, more and more African players have joined Chelsea’s ranks and have played a key role in the club’s exploits.
Naturally, football fans in the players’ countries have followed the London team with keen interest in an attempt to monitor the performance of their heroes.
It should be noted that since the club’s inception to date, 18 players who have been selected by African countries have played for the Stamford Bridge giants.
The Africans’ presence also resonates outside the playing field, as seen in former Nigeria international Michael Emenalo, who went from chief scout to first-team assistant coach to Chelsea’s technical director.
Under his leadership, he has been credited with overseeing the scouting and transfer of players like Thibaut Courtois, Mohamed Salah, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas.
Additionally, the club’s successes in tournaments like the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and the English Football League Cup may also have snowballed the geometric growth of the players. fans.
Which African country has the most Chelsea fans
Since the founding of Chelsea in 1905, players with roots in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Liberia, South Africa, Uganda , DR Congo, Sierra Leone and Senegal have played for the club. .
According to the English giants website, registered fans are domiciled in Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. Still, that doesn’t rule out the fact that Chelsea supporters are spread across the continent.
While many would naturally think that Nigeria is home to the largest number of English club fans in Africa due to being the most populous country, the number of Nigerians who have adapted for the Premier League squad is a major catalyst. .
Additionally, some of the biggest stars in the African entertainment industry such as Davido, Mr. P, Rude Boy, Flavor, 9ice, Genevieve Nnaji and Mercy Aigbe – all Nigerians – are Chelsea fans with huge success on the social networks.
Key stars behind Chelsea’s huge fan base in Africa
Drogba is arguably the most successful player in Africa to ever wear the Chelsea shirt. In addition to scoring 136 goals in 381 appearances for the Blues, he has inspired Londoners in several ways with his captivating performances.
Besides the Ivorian, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, George Weah and Samuel Eto’o all shone during their respective stints at Stamford Bridge, which has helped to increase the fan base in Africa over the years. .