Kanu Nwankwo and Five African Stars Who Never Won the AFCON
Nigeria has won the African Nations Cup three times, most recently in 2013 when Enyeama and co helped the Super Eagles to victory in South Africa.
But where Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroun has been successful, football nations like Mali, Liberia and others have never won the CAF Nations Cup.
This means many great African football stars have faded away without ever lifting the biggest sporting trophy on the black continent.
Let’s take a look at 5 African soccer heroes who never won the Africa Cup of Nations trophy.
Photo Credit: GoalDig
Kanu just missed the final Super Eagles squad to the AFCON 1994, which Nigeria won because he was too young. But being highly talented, the gangly striker went on to forge an incredible career for himself, becoming one of the most decorated African footballer in history.
In his colourful shelf lies a Champions League medal, English Premier League winners medal, English FA Cup medals, an Olympics gold medal among several others.
One obvious miss, though, is the AFCON winners medal.
Twice Drogba led Ivory Coast to the title winning match at the AFCON tournament, and at one forgettable moment, the Elephants were actually one penalty (ironically, Drogba’s) away from becoming champions.
Yet they failed.
It seemed that the Ivoirians were cursed. So Drogba announced his retirement.
Alas! The very first tournament that the Elephants will participate in post-Drogba, they emerged victors…at the AFCON!
Despite his AFCON miss, Didier Drogba would be raised by history as one of the greatest African legends of all time.
Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew
So good they nicknamed him after the Brazilian legend, Abedi was destined to help an averagely talented Ghanaian team to the 1992 AFCON glory in Senegal.
But after picking a silly yellow card in the semi-final victory over Nigeria (where he was named Man of the Match), Abedi missed the final match against Ivory Coast and he could only watch by the sidelines as a crippled Black Stars laboured in vain in the absence of their skipper and talisman.
Ivory Coast won on the night on penalties and Abedi Ayew would never have such a chance again on the African scene.
| Photo Credt: GoalDig
Still regarded by many as the finest footballer the world has seen come out of Africa, George Weah, despite his landmark successes, would be forgiven if he yet hold on to a few regrets.
The former World Player of the Year never appeared at a FIFA World Cup.
More importantly, though, he only featured twice at the AFCON Championship but he could not even help Liberia go beyond the group stages.
His most magical moments that a younger African generation will watch on TV will forever remain those brilliant evenings in the European leagues.
For over 2 decades, Kalusha fought, shed tears, sacrificed blood and scored goals in the green and white colours of Zambia.
Against great odds, he even led the Chipolopolo to a second place finish at the 1994 AFCON in Tunisia and a second runners-up spot two years later in South Africa.
But Africa’s sweetest left footer just couldn’t drag his team over the line. The Chipolopolo finally conquered the continent in 2012 but it was only after the Maestro had hung his playing boots.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker has been the most popular Togolese for many years and by far the most illustrious footballer to have ever emerged out of the small West African country.
He’s laced his boots for Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid, winning several individual and team honours.
Also internationally, his goals were key as Togo appeared at the World Cup for the first time in 2006. But an AFCON triumph has been a hurdle too high.