With the African Cup of Nations kicking off this week, NTOF will be looking at some of the most interesting African players to grace Scottish football. Next on the list is the midfield duo of Prince Buaben and Morgaro Gomis.
Each with different footballing backgrounds, the Ghanaian Buaben and Senegalese Gomis were a dynamic duo in the middle of the park. They are most notably known for spells at Dundee United and Hearts respectively.
Together in tangerine
Morgaro Gomis had tried his luck at several English lower league clubs before making the move to United from Cowdenbeath in January 2007. Craig Levein hadn’t expected him to start so well, initially signing him as a squad player.
Buaben, on the other hand, was a youth at Ajax before becoming an Arab. He put pen to paper on a three year deal in July 2007 at just 19. Both were part of a talented United side, one that won the 2010 Scottish Cup with a 3-0 win over Ross County.
United won their second, and most recent, Scottish Cup under Peter Houston and the duo both started in midfield that day. Craig Conway, on one of the flanks, grabbed a brace after David Goodwillie had opened the scoring.
Gomis gone before Buaben followed
In the summer of 2011, United would sell the duo both to English Championship clubs. Gomis signed for Birmingham City and Buaben joined Watford. With neither move really working out, both returned to Scottish football.
Gomis rejoined United for a second spell and Buaben signed for Partick Thistle, on loan from Carlisle who had snapped him up following his Watford release.
Three years on from playing together at one of Scotland’s biggest clubs they’d do exactly the same at Hearts in the summer of 2014.
Midfield maestros in maroon
The Jambos had suffered relegation in the 2013-14 season, largely due to the -15 points they faced for entering administration. With Robbie Neilson taking the helm at Hearts, under Anne Budge’s backing, he signed the duo on free transfers.
Morgaro Gomis, in particular, holds some history as the first signing the club made after exiting administration and Neilson’s first managerial capture. The duo were key elements in a team that romped the second tier, despite competing with city rivals Hibs and Rangers.
A record points total of 91 was just the beginning of Hearts under now United gaffer Neilson. He would guide them to a third placed Premiership finish as a newly promoted outfit in 2015-16, before leaving for MK Dons.
But Gomis had signed for Motherwell on loan in February 2016, for the rest of the 15-16 season. He signed for Malaysian side Kelantan in July 2016, having helped the Jambos get back to where they belong. But this meant leaving his sidekick Buaben in Edinburgh.
Buaben became a Bairn, as has Gomis
The only other Scottish club both have represented is Falkirk. Buaben was part of the side that were relegated to League 1 last season whereas Gomis has been given the task to reinstate them as a Championship club this season.
Both sadly made limited appearances for their respective nations. Gomis, despite considering himself French, made one Senegal appearance. Buaben has two Ghana caps. But the duo were a force to be reckoned with, both on Tayside and at Tynecastle.