Top-10 Greatest African Footballers of all time
In this article, Sportco lists down the top-10 greatest African footballers to have graced the football pitch.
#1 Samuel Eto’o
Arguably one of the greatest and most decorated African footballers to ever grace the pitch, the Cameroon international won three Champions League titles (two with Barcelona and one with Inter Milan)
He is the only African footballer to have been named African player of the year four times, more than the likes of George Weah, Abedi Pele and Didier Drogba.
He also picked up a gold medal with Cameroon at Sydney Olympics making his nation only African side to secure a gold medal.
He has been honoured with the African Cup of Nations all-time top scorer and is the only player to have scored the most goals for Cameroon, with 55 goals in 112 caps.
#2 George Weah
Led by the nickname “King George”, Weah was one of the greatest African footballers who grew his prominence in the late 1990s, His football prowess saw him win many trophies, with AC Milan, PSG Monaco, and Chelsea.
He was the first-ever African player to win Ballon d’Or, European Footballer of the Year, and FIFA World Player in 1995.
Weah belonged to a small nation Liberia- a population of 5million. He never tasted success with his national team, but he was an inspiration for many African footballers.
He was renowned for his speed, goal-scoring instinct. He was truly one of the greatest African footballers to step onto the football pitch.
#3 Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian king burst onto the scene when he joined Liverpool in 2017, and subsequently become a lethal striker.
In his record-breaking 2017/18 season, Mo Salah netted 44 goals in all competition, only club legend Ian Rush has scored more.
As a Reds player he has won two Golden Boots, a PFA Player of the Year award, and a Champions League winners medal at Liverpool.
Recently Mohamed Salah became the only African player to have registered the most goals in Premier League (113).
While with Egypt, the highlight of his career was when he marshalled the country to FIFA World Cup 2018 and the African Cup of Nations final in 2017 but lost to Cameroon 2-1.
#4 Didier Drogba
Next on our list of th greatest African footballers is the Chelsea legend! No player in the Premier League has had a greater impact than him during his time in England. He was an influential player in the Blues, winning a swathe of domestic honours.
He was named Chelsea’s greatest player in 2012, after singlehandedly taking Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2012. He was also awarded African footballer of the year twice.
#5 Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane was a noteworthy player alongside Mohamed Salah, who brought dynamism and pace in the forward line for Liverpool.
His performances with Southampton and Red Bull Salzburg attracted Liverpool to buy him. Mane used to score 20+ goals for Salzburg every season, and is the only player who netted Premier League’s fastest hattrick for the Saints in 2014 against Aston Villa.
However, his early days with Liverpool were plagued with injuries, as he failed to make an impression but, he quickly turned things around, and now, he is the third top African scorer in Premier League with 100 goals.
While with his national team Senegal, he reached the World Cup and African Cup of Nations final in 2019.
#6 Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure was a spectacular midfielder who used to score goals for fun from midfield. His trophy haul started with Barcelona, where he won the Champions League and La Liga led to interest from many top clubs in Europe and Manchester City were lucky to get his signature.
He helped City win three titles and the FA Cup in 2011, as Toure was an instrumental player in building the modern Manchester City.
With the national team, he conquered the African Cup of Nations in 2015 and inherited the African Footballer of the Year award twice. Hence, Yaya Toure makes it to our list of the greatest African footballers of all time.
#7 Riyad Maharez
The former Leicester player had a fantastic decade with Algeria, Manchester City, and Leicester City.
Before he became the most expensive player in Manchester City. Riyad Maharez played a starring role in Leicester’s Premier League triumph and attained the PFA Player of the Year award. This made him the first African player to achieve the landmark.
This prompted Pep Guardiola to sign him, as he became City’s player. Since then, he has found the back of the net 52 times in 167 games. And also led Algeria to the African Cup of Nations glory in 2019.
#8 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Before Lewandowski, Bundesliga was all about Aubameyang; he was the top scorer for Dortmund and was the only five players not named Robert Lewandowski finish as league top-scorer in 2011/12. He left Dortmund leaving his mark with 98 league goals in 144 outings.
In 2015 he was awarded Confederation of African Football Player of the Year, after registering 41 goals and 11 assists for club and country.
Aubameyang was a menace as a false nine. His poacher finishing impressed many clubs, and Real Madrid were the frontrunner to land him at Bernabeu. However, due to some issues, he joined Arsenal, where he has notched up 68 goals in 128 appearances.
#9 Edouard Mendy
Mendy came to the limelight when he kept nine clean sheets in 24 games for Rennes and led them to Champions League qualification.
This led to Chelsea landing him at Stamford Bridge fee reported to be £22 million. He made his Premier League debut in a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, making him the first African goalkeeper to play in Premier League since Carl Ikeme in 2012,
His three consecutive clean-sheets in the first three Premier League matches made him the first goalkeeper since Petr Cech in 2004.
He later became Chelsea’s first-choice keeper and inspired them to the Champions League final; in doing so, he became the first African goalkeeper to play in UCL final since Bruce Grobbelaar, 1985. He also equalled the record of most clean sheets in UCL (9).
He quickly became the national team’s first-choice keeper and helped the team reach AFCON final in 2019.
#10 Vincent Enyeama
Enyeama deserves to be on the list as he was Nigeria’s finest goalkeeper that won the African Cup of Nations in 2013. He also played a key role in two World Cups.
He was Ligue 1, one of the best keeper, as he went 1,062 minutes without conceding a goal equaling the division’s record for minutes without conceding a goal, set in 1993.
So dear readers, what do you think of this list? Did we miss any of your favourite African Players on our list of greatest African footballers?