Stories

Singapore's best African imports: Ten footballers who starred

The S.League has seen a sharp decline in the number of African players who have featured for local clubs in recent years. FourFourTwo has a look at 10 who impressed the crowds and got the fans coming back for more...

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

Frederic Mendy 

Forward | Guinea-Bissau | Etoile FC (2010), Home United (2011-2012) 

Coming to Singapore with the now-defunct Etoile FC in 2010, Mendy proved to be an instant hit as he bagged 21 goals to win the Golden Boot and inspire the French side to their only S.League title.

A menace in the air, Mendy was able to hold up play and bring his team-mates into attacks. The lanky forward sealed a move to Home the following year where he would spend two seasons - scoring 41 goals in 55 matches - with his notable strike being the match-winner in the 2011 Singapore Cup final.   

Mendy soon left Singapore for Portugal in 2013 where he turned out for top-flight sides Estoril, Moreirense and second-division team Uniao Madeira (on loan) for the next three years.

He was then on the move again, venturing back into Asia as he signed for K-League outfit Ulsan Hyundai in 2016 - where he netted six goals in 18 appearances - before making the switch to Jeju United the following season.

The 30-year-old was snapped up by Thai League 1 side Bangkok Glass for the 2018 season. 

While he was born in France, Mendy made his international debut for Guinea-Bissau in a 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier in 2016 where he scored a goal in a 3-2 victory over Zambia. He also featured in the tournament proper.

Kengne Ludovick

Forward | Cameroon | Balestier Khalsa (2005-2006), Home United (2007-2009)

Arriving in Singapore as part of Planet FC, an African team that failed in their bid to enter the S.League, Ludovick was good enough to stay nontheless, and proved to be a prolific finisher.

Turning out for Balestier and Home during his time here in Singapore, the stocky forward averaged 20 goals per season as he surpassed the 100-goal mark in the S.League with 104 goals in 168 matches.

His impressive performances did not go unnoticed, as ‘Ludo’ bagged the S.League Young Player of the Year gong in 2006 as well as the People’s Choice award in 2008 although he narrowly missed out on the S.League title with the Protectors in 2007.     

The 34-year-old then left Singapore in 2010 to sign for Thai League 1 side Pattaya United and spent the next eight years in Thailand playing for the likes of Chonburi FC and Police United among others. Last on the books of T4 outfit Kopoon Warriors in 2017, Ludovick has recently retired from professional football. 

Photo: Balestier

                    

Kone Hamed

Midfielder | Ivory Coast | Home United (2007)

Despite featuring for just one season in the Singapore, Hamed made a lasting impression with his trickery.

Terrorising opposing defences week in week out, the fleet-footed midfielder set the league alight and formed a telepathic understanding with Ludovick upfront. He also managed a decent 10 goals in 23 matches.  

The S.League proved to be a stepping stone for the Ivorian who went on to play for clubs scattered around the world - including outfits in Japan, Italy, Romania and United Arab Emirates.