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African footballers you never knew were related

Sunday 23rd October 2016
Successful African footballing brothers such as the Toure's (Yaya and Kolo) from Cote d'Ivoire, Uche's (Kalu and Ikechukw) from Nigeria, Ayew's (Andre and Jordan) from Ghana amongst others have all left their indelible mark on the beautiful game.

Sometimes football families are spread across generations too just like Abedi Pele and his two famous sons Andre and Jordan. However, there are loads of other family members playing football at an elite level, ranging from brothers to cousins to fathers to the slightly more tenuous link of brothers-in-law.

Here are four such African players who you may be surprised are related (even if just a little bit).

Jay-Jay Okocha & Alex Iwobi (Uncle and nephew)

There was plenty of excitement when young Alex Iwobi burst onto the scene towards the backend of last season for Arsenal due to his impressive and intelligent displays on the left flank. International recognition with Nigeria followed upon which it emerged that he is directly related to one of the Super Eagles finest ever talents; the one and only Jay-Jay Okocha.

Okocha, whose mercurial talents lit up dreary Bolton for five years, is Iwobi's Uncle and has no doubt passed on some pearls of wisdom (and as importantly, some outrageous skills) to his young family member down the years. Just like Okocha who captained Nigeria for four years with 75 caps, the 20-year-old is gradually following suit with seven caps.

McDonald Mariga & Victor Wanyama (Brothers)

Kenya is a country more associated with long-distance running than football, but the East African country has produced a few handy footballers in recent years, most notably the midfield siblings McDonal Mariga and Victor Wanyama.

Mariga famously became the first Kenyan ever to win the Champions League in 2010 when he was named on the bench as Inter defeated Bayern Munich 2-0 to win the treble, while his younger brother Wanyama has established himself as a key player at Spurs after starring for first Celtic and then Southampton on these shores.

These days, Mariga is playing for Latina in Serie B, while Wanyama captains the Kenyan national team.

Lomana & Kazenga Lua Lua (Brothers) & Yannick Bolasie (Cousin)

Only 11 footballers hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo have played in the Premier League and three of them are related, the Lua Lua brothers and Everton's chief trickster Yannick Bolasie. Lomana enjoyed a few productive years in the top-flight while playing for Portsmouth after starting out at Newcastle alongside his younger brother Kazenga, who can now be seen terrorizing defenSes in the Championship with Brighton.

Bolasie, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the Premier League's most dangerous wide midfielder's and earned a big-money £25m move to Goodison Park from Crystal Palace this summer. However, Lualua's cousin, Trésor Kandol, 35, didn't manage to play in the Premier League. He featured for several Championship sides including Leeds United and Charlton.

Joel Matip & Marvin Matip (Brothers) & Joseph-Désiré Job (Cousin)

Remember Joseph-Désiré Job? Middlesbrough fans certainly should, as the Cameroonian forward spent six years on Riverside and even scored one of the two goals as they won their first ever trophy, the 2004 League Cup. He became known as the one Job on Teeside!
Job retired from the game in 2011 following a spell with Lierse in Belgium, but he has a couple of cousins still playing professionally in the form of Marvin Matip at Augsburg and Joel who is impressing on Merseyside with Liverpool.
Toby Prince

If the sport has 11-men on each side, a ball and lasts for 90 minutes then I'll write about it. Simply put, I'm an unrepentant soccer freak that other freaks will, however, call a geek. I do find time for music when not watching the beautiful game, though and have been known to produce the odd track. 

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