Many people like playing football, which is of course, a beautiful game. Over the years, great and skilled players from Africa have helped to elevate the game both on a continental and international level. Let’s take a look at some of the best footballers that the continent of Africa has ever produced.
1. George Weah
The only African player to have received the famous Ballon d’Or award in 1995 is George Weah, who comes in first place on our list. While playing for an African nation (Liberia), he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year in the same year.
- 12 Most Talked About Musicians in Nigeria
- Chargé d’affaires Malaysia High Commission Abuja, Ms. Sharmini Devi Gopal Shares Insights on Strengthening Nigeria-Malaysia Ties: Education, Agriculture, and Trade Opportunities
He received the African Player of the Century award in 1996. The Liberian won the African Footballer of the Year award twice and was named the best African player of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, or IFFHS. One of the best African footballers of all time is still Weah.
2. Samuel Eto’o
The former Cameroon international is a four-time recipient of the African Footballer of the Year award. He won three of the awards consecutively in 2003, 2005 and 2007 then the fourth in 2010.
Eto’o won two Cup of Nations tournaments, an Olympic gold and represented the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in three World Cups. He was the top scorer in both the 2006 and 2008 editions of the AFCON tournament, and he remains Cameroon’s all-time scorer as well as the all-time scorer in the African Cup of Nations history.
He was once voted third in the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
3. Yaya Toure
Toure as an Ivorian player was the only player to have won the African Footballer of the Year award four times in a row and he ranks among the best African players in the history of the game.
He won the Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast team in2015.Toure who began his career as a striker, later became a defensive midfielder but evolved into a box-to-box player throughout his career and was capped 101 times for the Ivorian national team.
4. Didier Drogba
Drogba as he is fondly called was the former captain of the Ivorian national team and was named African Player of the Year twice while he finished top three on the ranking eight different times. Though he did not win any international titles with Ivory Coast, he was awarded the African Footballer of the Year title twice.
Renowned as the all-time top scorer and the former captain of the Ivory Coast national team, Drogba remains one of the most decorated African footballers of all time.
5. Nwankwo Kanu
The former Nigerian international led the Super Eagles of Nigeria to win Gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic and he represented Nigeria at three World Cups.
He also won the African Footballer of the Year award twice in 1996 and 1999 and was at some point in time captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
6. Roger Milla
Albert Roger Miller, also known as Roger Milla, was a forward for Cameroon who was known as one of the African athletes to receive international prominence at the time owing to his playing abilities.
He made important contributions to Cameroonian football history. He contributed to Cameroon becoming the first African team to participate in the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup, among other things.
The striker was crucial in helping Cameroon win two AFCON championships in 1984 and 1988. At age 42, Roger Milla became the oldest World Cup goal scorer when he scored against Russia while competing for the Cameroonian national team at three straight World Cups. Additionally, he twice received the African Footballer of the Year honor.
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named him the second-greatest African player of the past 100 years.
He is one of Africa’s all-time best attackers, scoring 43 goals in 77 appearances for the national team.
7. Abedi Pele
Abedi Ayew, also known as Abedi Pele, played professional football for Ghana. Abedi Pele, the team captain as well as an active football player for the Ghanaian Black Stars, filled the position of an attacking midfielder. In 1982, he and the Black Stars won the AFCON championship, and ten years later, he was named player of the competition.
He won the African Footballer of the Year award three times.
8. Augustine Azuka Okocha
One of the best and most well-known former international players from Nigeria is Jay-Jay Okocha, better known by his stage name. For the most of his football career, Okocha, an attacking midfielder, captained the Nigerian national team.
During his playing career, Okocha was known for his exceptional dribbling abilities and strength, which made him a joy to watch.
As a member of the brilliant Nigerian team in the early 1990s, Okocha won the Olympic gold medal and the African championship in 1994. He performed admirably at the 2004 AFCON tournament, where he shared the competition’s top score and was named the best player.
At three World Cups, he represented the Super Eagles.
9. Micheal Essien
Recognized as one of the best midfielders Africa ever had, the ex-Ghanaian international had one World cup appearance with his country.
His best achievements with his nation were one World Cup appearance and an AFCON runner-up in 2010.
10. Essam El-Hadary
At the age of 45, El-Hadary became the oldest player to play in a FIFA World Cup match at the 2018 edition in Russia.
El-Hadary was the best goalie Africa ever produced, despite being a goalkeeper. The goalie, also referred to as “The High Dam,” was undoubtedly one of Egypt’s most decorated athletes.
No other player has ever won the African Cup of Nations four times, and El-Hadary also managed to keep three of the finals scoreless.
He made his pharaohs debut in 1996 and played for them for 22 years.