After assessing goalkeepers, full backs and centre backs, it’s time to move on to the wingers. Well, I guess it depends on the formation. Even though 4-2-3-1 and 4-5-1 variants have seemingly become the systems of choice these days, it’s only right to stick with a traditional 4-4-2 here. To be honest, there’s such a lack of funny-named wingers that perhaps a 4-3-3 would’ve been better. However, these sentences are basically just filler to make up for the lack of players this time. So how has your week been?
Having thought beyond the ‘Team of Funny Names’ starting XI, I think all home games should be played in the capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. We might have to push pineapples and shake some trees to get permission, but we can grind some coffee and plan it out. Maybe drive there in a Renault Twingo, although it’d be a mammoth journey. Regardless, I won’t be handling this team – that’s the job of former Wolfsburg manager Wolfgang Wolf! Although I’d happily leave him alone if Wolverhampton Wanderers had a vacancy….
So yes, with those on board and Kriss Akabusi as fitness coach, it’s time to proceed with the right and left-sided midfielders.
Sidney Sam – RM
Credit for this goes to Matt Cobb and The Football Ramble. The Bayer Leverkusen winger has a name that demands a kick-ass cowboy hat, gun duels and drinking sarsaparilla in a saloon. For this 25-year-old belongs in a Western movie – go on, say it! Shid-knee Shaaay-yum. Once upon a time in the West of Germany, this outlaw started his career at Hamburg, before making his name on loan at Kaiserslautern. After dancing with the idea of signing for Wolfsburg (narrowly avoiding Wolfgang!), the German international joined Leverkusen in 2010 for £2m. He’s started this season incredibly well, forming a superb trio with Stefan Kiessling and Son Heung-Min as Leverkusen have pulled away at the table’s summit with Dortmund and Bayern. If they somehow don’t qualify for the Champions League, Sam could easily be Unforgiven.
Sammy Ameobi – RM/LM
The Premier League has seen some incredible brother combinations in its time – we’ve witnessed the Nevilles, the Toure brothers and the Da Silva twins. The Ameobis aren’t one of these. Yet Shola and Sammy are part of a clan that has ‘graced’ Tyneside for nearly 15 years. He made his Newcastle United debut against Chelsea in May 2011 and has scored two League Cup goals. However, his career highlight so far was sparking a pre-season pitch invasion at Darlington. After Geordie promises that “If Sammy scores, we’re on the pitch”, Ameobi proceeded to score past keeper Sam Russell. In fairness, the Newcastle fans stuck to their word and the following melee delayed the match for 10 minutes. Sammy’s name has delightful repetition and a beautiful rhythm, as shown by chanting it to the ‘hokey cokey’ and Black Lace’s party classic ‘Do the Conga’.
Brian Pinas – LM
Continuing the Newcastle United theme, Pinas arrived from Feyenoord in 1997. Signed by Kenny Dalglish, Pinas was thought to be the full package but the jokes and ridicule began immediately. The Sun newspaper claimed that “The first time a referee takes his name he’ll get sent off for using foul language”. When Arsenal came to Tyneside that December, anticipation lingered in the air over the prospect of Brian emerging from the substitutes bench and guiding the ball over Arsenal’s goalkeeper into the net. In other words, people wanted to see Pinas lob Seaman. Battered by a year of similarly poor jokes, Pinas returned to Feyenoord and tried to forge a career for himself. He has since been seen at Groningen, Cercle Brugge, NAC Breda and Dordrecht.
Alex Kacaniklic – LM
There’s nothing rude or clever about this Fulham winger’s name – I just love the ‘clickety click’ noise it makes. The 22-year-old was part of Liverpool’s youth team, before being used as a makeweight in Paul Konchesky’s monumental move to Anfield in 2010. Arguably on his way to becoming better than Konchesky ever was, Kacaniklic has five Premier League goals for Fulham and 14 caps for Sweden. His impact from the bench against Germany inspired his country to turn a 4-0 deficit into a stunning 4-4 draw. If he stays away from injuries, this winger is set to have a promising career at the top level.
Andreas Ivanschitz – Unlike Rafael Scheidt and Danny Shittu, this Austrian has had a good career (like Igor Shitov). With 64 caps for Austria and Champions League experience, the ‘David Beckham of Austria’ has a talented left foot.
Siphiwe Tshabalala – Currently playing for the Kaizer Chiefs, the South African is known for scoring the opening goal of the 2010 World Cup, inciting the riot that his club predicted. A goal for ALL of Africa!
Magaye Gueye – ….actually has a girlfriend. Well, according to Google, he did in 2011. The Frenchman is now on loan at Brest. Insert joke here.
Back next week with the central midfielders. Clue: there’s a lot of rhyming going on!