Despite most of the concentration labelled on the big European names, one cannot deny the fact that there currently is and have been an array of talents from African soil to have played the beautiful game of football. Truly we’ve witnessed a huge number of outstanding players in the game most especially from Europe, Africa has also produced some really mouth-watering sensations. In this article, we discuss about the ten greatest African football players of all time.
10. RABAH MADJER (ALGERIA)
A pretty unfamiliar name to start this ranking with but “Mustapha” is an all-time great. Widely regarded as the best Algerian footballer ever and was named the outright best of the last century. He is a legend for Portuguese outfit FC Porto as his goal was crucial in the 1987 European Cup final which he helped his side win. This was after he helped Algeria reach their first ever World Cup finals in 1982. Madjer won nine major titles with Porto and scored more than 150 goals.
9. SEYDOU KEITA (MALI)
Keita is an all-time great definitely. His achievement at club level is unmatched by any African midfielder ever. Keita consistently held on to a first team spot in Pep Guardiola’s Barca regarded as the best football team of all time. Keita won three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, three Supercopa de Espanas and two Champions League, two UEFA Super Cups and two Club World Cup titles during his time in Barcelona. He also won titles at Lorient and Sevilla and netted 78 goals from midfield.
8. ESSAM EL-HADARY (EGYPT)
Yes, a goalkeeper in the list. He’s definitely the greatest goalkeeper Africa produced. El-Hadary won the African Cup of Nations on four occasions, no other player has more. He made the team of the tournament on three occasions and kept a clean sheet in three AFCON finals. He won eight League titles with Al-Merreikh and Al-Ahly. He played 22 years for the Egypt national team, a national hero.
7. JAY-JAY OKOCHA (NIGERIA)
When it comes to pure talent and trickery, no one comes close to Jay-Jay, so good he was named twice. He could dribble an entire team and was a regular in all teams he played for. He won the African Cup of Nations and Olympic Gold with his nation and had numerous individual awards including two BBC African Player of the Year awards.
6. NWANKWO KANU (NIGERIA)
A legend! This man won almost everything and is one of the few players to have won the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, FA Cup, Olympic Gold medal and UEFA Cup. He also won the Holland Eredivisie at Ajax thrice and was named African Player of the year twice. He’s the greatest Nigerian player of all time and a legend for both Arsenal and Ajax as well as Portsmouth.
5. YAYA TOURE (IVORY COAST)
No much words need to be said about Yaya Toure. The Midfielder could star in anywhere on the pitch, this was why he had a successful period at top level. He’s easily the best midfielder Africa ever produced. He won absolutely everything there is to win while at Barca, then joined Man City where he played a crucial role in giving them the League title. His strength, vision and goal scoring instinct is unmatched. He’s the player with the most African Player of the Year award wins with four honours to his name. A true great.
4. ROGER MILLA (CAMEROON)
Many will say he’s the greatest African Player and that’s a valid argument. He was a beast. Roger Milla netted 438 goals in 794 matches in his professional career. He won the African Player of the Year award twice and also won the Nation’s cup twice for Cameroon. He made World Cup all-star team and was third highest goalscorer in 1990. At 42, Milla became the oldest player ever to play in a World Cup final in 1994.
3. DIDIER DROGBA (IVORY COAST)
A predator in the box. One of Premier League’s greatest strikers ever and definitely a Chelsea Legend. Named African Player of the Year twice and finished top three an astonishing 8 times. Drogba netted over 300 goals in his professional career and won four Premier League titles, four FA Cup, three English League Cups, two Community Shields and one UEFA Champions League title. He’s won the Premier League golden boot and made the Premier League team of the year twice.
2. GEORGE WEAH (LIBERIA)
This guy is the only African Footballer to win the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year after securing both in 1995. He also bagged African Player of the Year on three occasions. He helped PSG win the League title in 1994 before winning two Serie A crowns with AC Milan where he had his most successful spell. Weah scored over 200 goals in his professional career. He’s a huge national hero and is now the President of his nation Liberia. What a man!
1. SAMUEL ETO’O
No doubt about our number one. No footballer from African soil can boast of being greater than Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o. Alongside Yaya Toure, he has won four African Player of the Year awards. He won Olympic Gold in 2000 before helping Cameroon seal the AFCON title on two other occasions. He scored 130 goals for Barcelona where he won the treble in 2008-2009 season. He bagged two UEFA Champions League titles for Barca scoring in both finals. He also won the UCL with Inter Milan in 2010 as well as the FIFA Club World Cup. He made both UEFA and FIFA Teams of the Year twice and was third in the 2005 edition of FIFA World’s best player award. He has a ton of individual awards to his name and played for a great number of top clubs. He’s truly the greatest.
Is there a player that you feel should have made this list? Let us know in the comment section below.