Chelsea is one of the most prestigious football clubs on our planet. The club boasts millions of fans, with a substantial fraction of this fraternity spread across Nigeria.
And yes, Chelsea has given Nigerians remarkable opportunities to create wealth. Aside from growing Nigeria’s own John Obi Mikel into one of the finest African midfielders of his generation, Chelsea fixtures come with exciting betting markets on top bookmaker mobile apps.
For example, bet9ja old mobile for iphone regularly presents a catalog of betting opportunities anytime Chelsea takes to the pitch.
Indeed, Chelsea’s success across recent decades can be legitimately attributed to their defensive solidity. While being blessed with some of the finest attackers like Didier Drogba, Chelsea has been amply furnished with some of the best defenders in football history.
Interestingly, a number of these formidable defenders were African. In this article, we will celebrate Chelsea’s legendary African defenders.
Celestine Babayaro is a former Nigerian player, famously hailing from Plateau State. He spent most of his time in the English Premier League playing for Chelsea. Celestine Babayaro played left-back but would sometimes play as a midfielder.
Celestine Babayaro started his youth career in 1994 in Nigeria, playing for Plateau United. In the same year, Celestine Babayaro made his way to the Belgian football club Anderlecht, where he started his senior career. Although Celestine Babayaro had some quacks along the way, he began making a name for himself at Anderlecht and was quickly seen as a rising star.
Celestine Babayaro finally made his way into Chelsea as a promising teenager in 1997 at a record transfer fee of £2.25 million.
His early performance was interrupted by injury, which made him miss some matches, but he quickly came back and made a name for himself.
While at Chelsea, Celestine Babayaro won the 1997-98 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the 1998 UEFA Super Cup, the 1999-2000 FA Cup, and the 2000 FA Charity Shield. While his playtime at Chelsea lasted between 1997-2005, he made a total appearance of 132 and scored 5 goals.
Celestine Babayaro retired from professional football in 2010.
The Cameroonian, Geremi Njitap, mostly called just Geremi, is one of the most versatile professional footballers to have been in Chelsea. He is known to play the midfield and right-back positions perfectly.
Geremi was popularly known for his sharp attacking style, fast pace, strength, and good free-kick skills. Before playing for Chelsea, Geremi had already garnered professional football experience playing for senior clubs across the world.
Some of the clubs he had played for before Chelsea include Racing Bafoussam, Cerro Porteño, Gençlerbirliği, and Real Madrid.
In 2003, during the time of then-manager José Mourinho, Geremi made his way into Chelsea from Real Madrid for a transfer fee of £6.9 million.
José Mourinho stretched Geremi into playing multiple positions throughout his playtime at Chelsea. For Geremi, it was a daunting task at first, with an uncommon versatility that saw him deployed in defence and forward positions.
But on the other hand, José Mourinho saw Geremi as one loyal player who could get the job done at almost any spot in the field.
Geremi made 72 appearances and scored 4 goals while at Chelsea. He also collectively won the 2004-05 and the 2005-06 English Premier League, and also the 2005 FA Community Shield.
Geremi was later transferred to Newcastle United in 2007 and finally resigned from professional football in 2011. He is now working in the Cameroon Football Federation as an Executive Committee member.
Kalidou Koulibaly is a name that easily strikes a bell. Born to Senegalese parents, he started his youth career in 1999 at the French club, Saint-Dié.
Progress in his career saw him secure a transfer to Metz II in 2009, where he started his senior career.
In 2022, Kalidou Koulibaly arrived in Chelsea for a speculated transfer fee of £33 million. After playing for more than 3 clubs where he had made a name for himself. He is now duplicating his past successes at Chelsea and has made many high-level appearances so far, building a feared defensive partnership with Thiago Silva.
Contributing to Chelsea’s strong defense, Trevoh Chalobah is a versatile defender who primarily plays as a center-back but can also play as a right-back.
Trevor Chalobah is admittedly one of the most promising defenders primed for a breakout in England’s senior team.
Indeed, Gareth Southgate (England’s coach) has been keenly monitoring his progress at Chelsea.
Chalobah has made a total of 33 appearances for Chelsea in the Premier League’s current and last seasons and has started 28 of those matches.
Being able to also play in defensive midfield, Chalobah is a player who intercepts, stops play, and intelligently halts attacks from the opposition.
With good and precisive aerial ability, Chalobah has made a total of 38 head clearances and scored two headed goals for Chelsea in the last two Premier League seasons.
It is worth noting that Chalobah has strong African roots. Notably, Chalobah was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
He stayed in the African country until his seventh birthday when he migrated to London Borough in Lambeth.
Among the many clubs in the English Premier League, Chelsea is known to keep an open arm to football players of all races and heritages. For many years, Chelsea’s defensive line has always had skillful players of African heritage. And this will continue to go on for years to come.