The English Premier League finally returns with Frank Lampard’s men looking to upset the odds and lift the trophy they last won under the management of Antonio Conte.
If that seemingly impossible feat is achieved, the likes of Nigeria-Canadian Fikayo Tomori – expected to play some part with the senior team this term – will be joining an elite class of African greats who won English league’s biggest prize at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea Football Club, founded in 1905, waited for 50 years before winning their first league title and another half a century to claim their second crown.
As the 2019/20 English Premier League season gains its momentum, Soccernet’s Imhons Erons looks back at some of Chelsea’s Premier League-winning players from Africa.
The first African to play at Chelsea, Celestine Babayaro was a member of that second title-winning squad.
The Nigerian fullback, an Olympic Gold medalist in 1996, joined the Blues the following year for a transfer fee of £2.25 million, a club record paid for a teenager at the time.
Didier Drogba’s first premier league goal for Chelsea was from a Celestine Babayaro assist? Wow!!!
Now, Chelsea has to cope with Kenedy🤦🏽♂️pic.twitter.com/vNtQy9XBN4
— TWEET PAPA🍒🍷⭕️ (@TweetAtAustin) July 19, 2019
He however left the Blues after that historic win, having played only four Premier League matches for Chelsea due to Wayne Bridge’s growing influence. under new manager José Mourinho.
The amiable, ultra-versatile Cameroonian won the Premier League title twice with Chelsea after making the switch from Real Madrid.
The archetypal Jose Mourinho player, Geremi could operate at right back, right midfield or defensive midfielder.
— Chad (@ChelseaChadder) December 28, 2017
Geremi’s power, combative style and free-kick ability were key as Chelsea romped to their first league title in 50 years and then retained the trophy 12 months later.
For a long while, it appeared as though the highlight of Moses’ career would be his frequent loans. Then in came Italian manager Antonio Conte and a new system of football. And no other Chelsea player could perform the right wing-back role as well as the Nigerian forward.
Victor Moses hands Chelsea the lead in the Community Shield vs. Arsenal toe-poking home inside the box.
Game on 👊 pic.twitter.com/XDpUhNMBdW
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 6, 2017
With one Man-of-the-Match performance after another, Moses became indispensable for the team in a season that ended with Chelsea winning the Premier League title.
Moses thus became the Nigerian player with the most Premier League appearances for a title winning team.
The Ivorian striker joined Chelsea – targeting a hat trick of league titles – from Feyenoord after the Londoners claimed their second league title in two years.
It didn’t happen, however, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United beat all-comers to the league crown.
— Chad (@ChelseaChadder) April 25, 2019
But Chelsea would not be denied for too long. With his 23 Premier League appearances and 5 decisive goals, Kalou played his part as Chelsea became England champions once again in 2010.
Arguably the greatest Chelsea player ever and the finest African striker to have graced the English Premier League, The Drog, in his debut season, was instrumental as the club won their first league title in 50 years, and a year later won another Premier League title.
— marcos. (@_marcoso) August 8, 2019
The two time African Footballer of the Year left Chelsea having helped the Blues become one of England’s most successful clubs only to return in 2014 and earn another Premier League winners medal.
There may not be another like the former Ivorian captain in another 50 years for the Blues.
John Mikel Obi
Once the prodigious teenager put behind his controversial transfer to Chelsea after Manchester United claimed they had already signed him, he went on to enjoy a hugely successful 11-year stay with Chelsea.
It was also on this very day that John Mikel Obi scored his first goal for Chelsea… pic.twitter.com/LZ0eRofYOj
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 6, 2017
The 2007 Chelsea Young Player of the Year award winner adapted quickly and performed with efficiency as Jose Mourinho increasingly trusted him in the defensive midfield role.
And it was from their that he created the brilliant defensive shield for the club to rake in the league titles in 2010 and 2015.
The one-time most expensive African footballer in history came to England and took the league by storm.
Before ‘The Bison’ arrived, the English Premier League had not seen anyone combine such work-rate, physicality, and defensive skills, together with good technique, vision, and actical intelligence like the brilliant Ghanaian.
And with him in the side, the Stamford Bridge giants won the Premier League in 2006 and 2010.
— KENNY 🏆 (@kenny_cfc) July 4, 2017
A powerful striker of the ball from distance, Essien won the Chelsea Goal of the Season award twice, sealing his status as fans favourite for all times.