For many people, ‘no place like home’ is a popular saying with conventional binding on almost everyone, if not all. No matter how long one spends elsewhere, finding your way back home is a virtue.
This is the case for many European-based footballers who have paid a visit to their respective native African countries for the summer holidays after a fantastic 2022/2023 European season.
Whether it is those representing their African countries at the international level or those who have opted to represent European nations, professional footballers of African roots have continued to trace their way back home.
Tribune Online takes a look at some popular professional European-based footballers who have visited the African continent following the conclusion of the 2022/2023 season.
If there is one African player who enjoyed the most fantastic 2022-2023 European season campaign, then it will probably be Victor Osimhen.
With 25 goals and 4 assists recorded in the Italian league, Osimhen helped Napoli lift the Scudetto for the first time since the 1989-90 season, winning the Italian top scorer in the process.
For his summer break, the Super Eagle star returned to Olusosun in Lagos, Nigeria where he had his childhood before moving abroad. He also stopped by to meet his primary school teacher, Mrs. Augusta Atanda, who was said to have convinced his father to allow him to move abroad and try to break into the football world.
Paris Saint-German and France forward, Kylian Mbappe visited Cameroon, a Central African country for his summer break. Although Mbappe was born in France and represents the French national football team, his origin can be traced to Cameroon, which happens to be the native country of his father, Wilfred Mbappe.
During his stay in the African country, Mbappe met with Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Ngute, along with other officials. He was also pictured with MMA star Francis Ngannou and played basketball with former Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah.
The Ilorin man never went too far from Nigeria. Taiwo Awoniyi, the Nottingham Forest and Super Eagle forward, was also in Kwara capital city for the summer holidays after helping the English club survive relegation from the Premier League.
During his visit, the 25-year-old paid a surprise visit to the Ilorin General Hospital, where he supported patients, and also visited the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, in his palace.
Bukayo Ayoyinka Temidayo Saka, an English professional footballer and Arsenal winger, paid a surprise visit to Lagos, Nigeria in June 2023. Saka, whose parents are from Nigeria, took to Instagram on June 2, 2023, to announce his arrival in the West African country.
Posting a short video of himself in the Bariga area of Lagos State, he wrote, “Ẹ kúulé o” (Yoruba greeting)! Thank you for the warm welcome.”
While in Nigeria, Saka met with the governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu, and other notable figures.
Barcelona youngster, Alejandro Balde, also visited Africa during the summer break. The 19-year-old left-back, who represents the Spanish national football team, has roots in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau.
Balde took to social media on June 22 to announce his arrival in Guinea-Bissau. Posting pictures of himself in the country, he wrote, “Pulo Sabuia” with the flag of the country.
He also met with the President of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, and other locals in the country.