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Six memorable African FA Cup final appearances

Ahead of Saturday's showpiece between Chelsea and Manchester United, KweséESPN pick out six African players who made an unforgettable impact in the FA Cup final.

1953: The '53 final is known as the 'Matthews final' after the sterling impact of Sir Stanley Matthews, who stole the show with an outstanding display as his Blackpool side beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3 at Wembley.

While the match is named after the England great, his teammate Stanley Mortensen actually scored a hat-trick, and it was Bill Perry-who'd been born in South Africa and began his career with Johannesburg Rangers-who netted the winner for the Tangerines.

1965: While Perry was the first African-born player to feature in an FA Cup final (even though he'd made three appearances for England), the British game had to wait until 1965 for a black player to feature in the final.

That man was Albert Johanneson, another South African, who was part of Leeds United's glory years.

The South African winger was on the losing side as Don Revie's side were dispatched 2-1 by Bill Shankly's Liverpool, having played a key role as Leeds returned to the top flight in 1964.

He was part of the squad that won the top flight in 1969.

1989: Bruce Grobbelaar enjoyed great success in England with Liverpool, winning six league titles and the 1984 European Cup with the Reds.

He also won three FA Cups, notably pulling off a wonder save to deny Graeme Sharp as the Anfield giants downed their Merseyside rivals Everton 3-1 in the 1986 final.

Poignantly, however, Grobbelaar was also part of the side who clinched the 1989 FA Cup only months after 96 fans had been killed at Hillsborough in the stadium disaster that overshadowed the semi final against Nottingham Forest.

"After beating Nottingham Forrest, we qualified for the final and it was fitting that it was again against local rivals Everton, as the whole city was grieving," Grobbelaar told "We won 3-2."

2007: No African player has left a bigger impact in the FA Cup than Didier Drogba, and one could even argue that there's no one who's dominated finals more than the Chelsea legend.

He won the cup four times, and is, to date, the only player to score in four separate finals, after netting against Everton in 2009, Portsmouth in 2010, and old rivals Liverpool in 2012.

His first major contribution, however, came in 2007, when Jose Mourinho won his first FA Cup as Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United were slain in the first final at the new Wembley.

The match had appeared to be heading to penalties after 115 goalless minutes before Chelsea, who's already won the League Cup, stole the title as Drogba netted an extra-time winner.

It wasn't a thrilling contest, but was arguably the Ivorian's biggest moment in an FA Cup final, as the Blues won the competition for the first time since 2000.

2008: Nwankwo Kanu, along with teammate Sol Campbell, had already won two FA Cups with Arsenal before taking to the field with Portsmouth to contest the 2008 showpiece against Cardiff City.

One suspects that it was this final triumph - arguably the last great success of the Nigeria superstar's glittering career - that will live longest in the memory.

It was Kanu who scored the only goal of the game, scrambling home the winner at the near post in the 37th minute after a cross from John Utaka - another Nigerian - had been fumbled by Peter Enckelman.

The former Ajax man's effort secured Pompey their first FA Cup since 1939, and also guaranteed their first appearance in continental competition.

2011: Considering the success that Manchester City have enjoyed in recent years, it's become easy to forget the 2011 FA Cup final, when their golden era truly began.

Before their meeting with Stoke City, they hadn't won a trophy for 35 years - the longest drought in the club's history - but that run was smashed when Yaya Toure smashed home the winner.

It had been a cagey affair, with City the brighter of the two sides, before Toure arrived to meet a loose ball in the box and slam home past Thomas Sorensen.

Since then, the club have won three Premier League titles, three League Cups, the Community Shield, and reached the semi finals of the Champions League, but it was Toure's winner that ultimately ended their wait for gold.

Ed Dove is the Soccer Editor for KweséESPN. Follow him on Twitter @EddyDove.


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