49 African Best Players of All Time

Andrew Kovacs

Africa is a continent full of talented football players who have made their mark on the world stage. From the likes of Didier Drogba to Samuel Eto’o, many of Africa’s best players have gone on to become household names in the football world.

These talented players have played in some of the best leagues in Europe and have made incredible contributions to their respective teams. In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the best players in Africa and why they are so highly regarded.

1. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly, more commonly known as Mo Salah, is an extremely talented and successful Egyptian professional footballer. He currently plays for the Premier League club Liverpool and is also the captain of the Egypt national team.

Salah’s football career began in 2008 when he started playing for a youth team called El Mokawloon.

After a few successful years, he was signed by FC Basel in Switzerland and then went on to play for Chelsea, Rome and now Liverpool. Salah is known for his incredible speed, agility and eye for goal when playing as a forward.

His skills have earned him much recognition, from being the first Egyptian to win the Premier League Golden Boot award, to being named African Footballer of the Year for two consecutive years.

Salah is also a role model for young people, having founded a charity that helps disadvantaged youths get into sport Salah’s success is an inspiration to many, and his hard work and determination to be the best have seen him reach the top of the football world.

He is a true example of what can be achieved through dedication and is a shining example of an Egyptian footballer.

2. Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané is a highly-regarded professional footballer from Senegal. He currently plays as a forward for Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr and for the Senegal national team.

Mané is widely considered one of the greatest African players of all time, and he has earned this reputation due to his impressive skill set. Mané is renowned for his strength in pressing, dribbling, and speed, making him a threat to any defense.

His ability to create goal-scoring chances and to finish them off is second to none, and this is why he is so highly valued by both his club and his country. He is an inspiration to many African players, and his success is a testament to the potential of African talent

3. Yaya Touré

Gnégnéri Yaya Touré is a highly respected professional football coach and player from the Ivory Coast. He has had a successful playing career, most notably as a midfielder, and is currently an assistant coach with the Belgian club Standard Liège.

As a youngster, Touré had dreams of becoming a striker but was eventually converted to a midfielder. He also has experience playing in the center-back position and was part of the Barcelona team that played in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final.

Touré is renowned for his strength, athleticism and technical ability on the pitch. His ability to read the game and dictate the tempo of the match has made him a valuable asset to any team.

He was also known for his powerful long-range shots, which were often game-winning goals. Throughout his career, Touré has won a number of prestigious awards and accolades.

He was named African Footballer of the Year four times and was voted into the UEFA Team of the Year four times. He was also named in the FIFA World XI four times and is the only African to be inducted into the UEFA Hall of Fame.

Gnégnéri Yaya Touré is a footballing legend and an inspiration to many. His success on and off the pitch is a testament to his incredible work ethic and unrivaled talent..

4. Didier Drogba

Didier Yves Drogba Tébily is a well-known former professional footballer who played as a striker. He hails from Ivory Coast and is widely recognized for his impressive footballing achievements.

He is the all-time highest goal scorer for his country’s national team and was also its former captain. Drogba was a powerful striker who was renowned for his skill and physicality.

He had a very successful career with the Ivory Coast national team, scoring 65 goals in 104 appearances.

He was also a key member of the team that won the African Cup of Nations in 2015 and was named the African Footballer of the Year in 2006 and 2009.In addition to his success with his national team, Drogba also had a successful club career.

He began his career with the French side Le Mans in 1998 before making a move to Chelsea in 2004.

He went on to spend eight years at the club, scoring 164 goals in 381 appearances, and helping them win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and one UEFA Champions League title. Drogba retired from professional football in 2018 and was given a testimonial match in Chelsea’s home ground, Stamford Bridge.

He is viewed as one of the greatest African players of all time and is remembered fondly by the Chelsea faithful.

5. Samuel Eto’o

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Samuel Eto’o Fils is an influential figure in the world of football. He is a Cameroonian football administrator and former player who is currently serving as the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation.

Eto’o began his career as a professional football player and had a successful playing career with clubs around the world including Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Chelsea.

After retiring from playing, he decided to pursue a career in football administration and was appointed as the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation on 11 December 2021.

As president, he is responsible for overseeing the development of football in Cameroon, as well as promoting the game in the country.

He is also a strong advocate for the development of youth football and has implemented several initiatives to help young players reach their potential.

He is committed to making sure that Cameroonian football is well represented in international competitions and that the national team is successful.

6. Nwankwo Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu OON is a former professional footballer from Nigeria. He is known for playing as a forward and for being an important member of the Nigerian national team. During his career, he had the opportunity to play for several clubs in different countries.

He began his career in Nigeria playing for the Iwuanyanwu Nationale. It was there that he was first noticed by European clubs and he was eventually signed by Ajax, a Dutch side.

This marked the beginning of an illustrious career in Europe, and he was soon signed by the Italian team Inter Milan. After a successful stint with Inter Milan, Nwankwo moved to England, where he signed with Arsenal.

He was an important part of the team, helping them achieve success in the Premier League and in the UEFA Champions League.

He also played for West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth before retiring from professional football. Throughout his career, Nwankwo Kanu OON was an important player for all the teams he represented.

He was a key component of the Nigerian national team, and he was a respected player in Europe. His skill and dedication to the game will be remembered forever.

7. George Weah

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George Weah is a remarkable figure in Liberia. He is a successful politician and former professional footballer, who is currently the President of Liberia.

He has been in office since 2018, and prior to his election as the President, he held the position of Senator from Montserrado County. Weah is an inspirational and influential figure in Liberia. He has achieved remarkable success in both his political and sporting careers.

As a football player, he was named African Footballer of the Year in 1989, 1994, and 1995. He also won the Ballon d’Or in 1995, making him the only African footballer to do so.

His footballing career saw him play for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain. Weah’s political career began in 2005, when he ran in the Liberian presidential election but was unsuccessful.

He continued to be politically involved, running for office again in 2011 and 2014 before being elected to the Senate from Montserrado County in 2014. In 2017, he announced his candidacy for president of Liberia and was elected in 2018.

As President, he has focused on improving the country’s infrastructure, healthcare, and education. George Weah is an inspiring example of how success can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

His accomplishments in both football and politics are a testament to his dedication and commitment to his country. He is an example of how people can use their talents to help and improve the lives of others.

8. Roger Milla

Albert Roger Miller, famously known as Roger Milla, is a former professional footballer from Cameroon who played as a forward. He was a pioneer in the field of African football, becoming one of the first African players to make a notable impact on the international stage.

Milla’s career highlights include appearing in three World Cups for the Cameroon national team. He made his World Cup debut in 1982 in Spain, where Cameroon caused an upset by beating Argentina 1-0.

Milla scored four goals in the 1990 World Cup, helping Cameroon to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament. His iconic goal celebration, where he ran towards the corner flag and performed a dance, is now widely imitated by players around the world.

Milla’s achievements and influence as a footballer have made him an icon of African football.

9. Abedi Pele

Abedi Ayew, also known as Abedi Pele, is an iconic figure in African football. He is a Ghanaian former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder and was the captain of the Ghana national team.

Abedi Pele is widely regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time. He was an influential player on the pitch, and his leadership skills as captain of the Ghana national team were remarkable. Abedi Pele was known for his attacking flair and technical ability.

He was able to create chances for his teammates with his passing and dribbling skills and score goals himself with his accurate shooting. He was also an excellent set-piece taker and had excellent vision for creating scoring opportunities.

His leadership and experience helped guide the Ghanaian national team to success on the international stage. Abedi Pele was also renowned for his humility and sportsmanship.

He was always willing to help young players develop their skills and was an inspirational figure for many aspiring footballers. Pele was a three-time African Footballer of the Year and was inducted into the CAF Hall of Fame in 2007.

His legacy as one of the greatest African footballers of all time will remain for generations to come.

10. Victor Osimhen

Victor James Osimhen MFR is a Nigerian football player who has made a name for himself in the world of professional football. He currently plays as a striker for Serie A club Napoli and the Nigerian national team.

Osimhen is highly esteemed for his remarkable offensive capabilities, such as his elite finishing, speed, strength, and athleticism.

He has made a name for himself as one of the best strikers in the world due to these impressive attributes. As a striker, Osimhen’s main responsibility is to score goals for his team.

His excellent finishing and agility make him lethal in the box, and his ability to create chances due to his pace allows him to be a constant threat to the opponent’s defense.

Additionally, he is incredibly strong and athletic, allowing him to hold off defenders and win aerial battles.

All of these qualities combined make him one of the most feared strikers in the world. Osimhen has been rewarded for his accomplishments, having been made a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the Nigerian government in 2018.

This prestigious honor is given to those who have displayed exceptional service to their country and speaks to the impact that Osimhen has had on the game of football. Overall, Victor James Osimhen MFR is a Nigerian professional footballer who has established himself as one of the best strikers in the world.

His elite finishing, pace, strength and athleticism make him a deadly offensive force, and his accomplishments have earned him a high degree of respect in the footballing world.

11. Wilfried Zaha

Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha is a talented footballer who has been playing professionally since 2010. He currently plays as a left winger or a forward for both Süper Lig club Galatasaray and Ivory Coast national team.

Zaha got his start in the professional leagues when he advanced from the Crystal Palace football academy into the first team in 2010. Since then, he has gone on to make an impressive career for himself, appearing in numerous matches and tournaments.

He is known for his speed, agility, and ability to score goals. He is a valuable asset to both of his current teams and has won numerous awards and accolades for his performance..

12. Frédéric Kanouté

Frédéric Oumar Kanouté is a retired professional soccer player from Mali, who had a successful career in Europe. He played as a striker, which is an offensive position, for several top-tier clubs across the continent.

He achieved his greatest success with Spanish team, Sevilla FC, and was even named African Footballer of the Year in 2007.

This was a remarkable accomplishment, as he was the first player born outside of Africa to win the award. Throughout his playing career, Kanouté was known for his athleticism, skill, and goal-scoring ability.

He was also a fan favorite at all the clubs he played for, as he was known for his humble attitude and professional demeanor. Kanouté retired from professional football in 2014, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of soccer fans across the world.

13. El Hadji Diouf

El Hadji Ousseynou Diouf is a Senegalese former professional footballer who had a successful career playing as a winger or a forward.

He began his career playing for a Senegalese club, but soon moved to Europe where he played for teams such as Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland.

During his time in Europe, Diouf was an instrumental part of the team and was recognised as one of the most skillful players in the league.

His incredible pace and dribbling ability made him a valuable asset on the field. In addition to his attacking prowess, Diouf was a great leader on the field. He was able to motivate his teammates and drive them to success.

He also had an eye for goal and was often the top scorer for his teams.

He finished his career with a total of 80 goals in his career in Europe and was considered to be one of the best players in the league.Diouf’s career is a testament to the skill, determination and leadership that he brought to the game.

He was a true professional who gave his all to the teams he played for and made a lasting impact on the sport. His legacy will live on for many years to come.

14. Jay-Jay Okocha

Augustine Azuka Okocha, more commonly known as Jay-Jay Okocha, is a former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He is a Nigerian who was a part of the national team from 1993 to 2006.

During that time he managed to acquire 73 caps for the international squad, making 14 goals throughout his tenure.

Jay-Jay Okocha was also part of the Nigerian teams that competed in three FIFA World Cups. Jay-Jay Okocha is a highly decorated footballer, having won numerous awards such as the BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2004 and the Nigerian Footballer of the Year in 2005.

He also has a FIFA 100 award, which was given to him in 2004 by Pele as recognition of his career achievements.

Furthermore, he has been inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame and the Nigerian Football Hall of Fame. Aside from his achievements in the field, Jay-Jay Okocha is also known for his philanthropic work.

He has been involved in various charitable projects such as the Jay-Jay Okocha Foundation, which provides help to the underprivileged.

He is also an ambassador for UNICEF, providing assistance to children in need. Overall, Jay-Jay Okocha is an impressive figure in the world of football.

He has had a distinguished career, with numerous accolades and awards to his name, and his philanthropic efforts demonstrate his commitment to giving back to the communities he serves.

He is an inspiration to many and an example of what can be done when one has talent and a desire to use it to help others.

15. Michael Essien

Michael Kojo Essien is a former professional footballer from Ghana who had a successful career as a midfielder. He is currently working as a coach for Danish Superliga club Nordsjælland, where he is helping to develop the next generation of football talents.

In addition to his club career, Essien was also a regular member of the Ghana national team, making over 50 appearances and helping his country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2006 and 2010.

He was well known for his technical skills and tactical awareness, as well as his physical strength and endurance, making him a valuable asset for any team.

Essien was also highly regarded for his leadership qualities, often taking on captaincy roles at club and international level. He served as a role model for many young players, inspiring them to strive for excellence and reach their full potential.

16. Asisat Oshoala

Asisat Lamina Oshoala MON is an accomplished Nigerian professional footballer. She plays as a striker for Spanish Liga F club FC Barcelona and is also a member of the Nigeria women’s national team.

With her impressive career achievements, Asisat has established herself as one of the leading female footballers in the world.At the age of 19, Asisat captained the Nigeria women’s national team, making her the youngest captain in the team’s history.

She is also the first African player to win the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award in 2014.

Asisat has since gone on to have a brilliant career in the sport, winning many awards and accolades. Asisat has also achieved success with FC Barcelona, helping the team win the Copa de la Reina, Spanish Super Cup, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Her performances for the Spanish club have been rewarded with the title of African Player of the Year in 2016. Asisat is a great role model for young female footballers. She has achieved success due to her hard work, dedication, and commitment to the sport.

Asisat is an example of how female footballers can compete on the highest level and be successful.

17. Kolo Touré

Kolo Abib Touré is a prominent figure in the world of football. He is a former Ivorian professional footballer and current football manager.

He has been active in football for over 20 years, playing for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool. Kolo Touré began his football career in the Ivory Coast, playing for the ASEC Mimosas and the Africa Sports National.

He then moved to Europe to play for Arsenal, where he won three FA Cups and two Premier League titles. Following his time at Arsenal, he joined Manchester City and then Liverpool.

At each club, he was a key member of the team, helping them to win multiple trophies. In 2017, Kolo retired from professional football to become a manager.

He took charge of the Championship side Wigan Athletic, where he was able to make an impact, leading them to a mid-table finish.

Unfortunately, his time at Wigan was cut short due to the pandemic, but his legacy as a manager will live on. Kolo Touré’s career in football has been an inspiring one. He has achieved so much as a player and manager, and his contributions to the sport will never be forgotten.

18. Rabah Madjer

Rabah Mustapha Madjer is an Algerian footballer who had an illustrious career in the sport. He played as a striker and achieved great success in the 1980s while representing FC Porto.

Madjer was highly regarded for his exceptional skills as a player and is remembered as one of the best Algerian football players of all time. Madjer began his professional career with a club in his native Algeria before making the move to Portugal in 1984.

He quickly established himself as one of the best players in the Portuguese league and helped FC Porto to win the Primeira Liga title in the 1984-85 season.

He was also part of the team that won the European Cup in 1987, making him the first African player to do so. Throughout his career, Madjer scored over 100 goals in all competitions and earned numerous individual awards.

He was the Primeira Liga’s top scorer in 1984-85 and was named Algerian Footballer of the Year in 1983 and 1986.

He also represented his country in the 1986 World Cup and was part of the Algerian team that reached the round of 16 in the 1982 World Cup. Madjer’s success and achievements have made him a legendary figure in Algerian football.

He is remembered fondly by fans and players alike and his legacy continues to live on in the nation today. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Algerian football players of all time and his accomplishments are an inspiration to aspiring footballers.

19. Seydou Keita

Seydou Keïta was a professional footballer from Mali who was renowned for his versatility as a midfielder. He was capable of playing both a central or defensive midfielder role. Keïta had a successful career, playing for clubs such as Lens and Barcelona.

After signing with Barcelona in 2008, he went on to win 14 titles with the club. This made him one of the most successful African players of his time. Keïta was an invaluable asset to his teams, providing a consistent presence in the midfield.

He also had a great sense of ball control and passing accuracy, which made him a formidable opponent.

His impressive accomplishments include being named African Footballer of the Year in 1998 and 2000, as well as being included in the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest living footballers compiled by Pele.

Keïta left behind a great legacy in the world of football, and his achievements will continue to be remembered.

20. Emmanuel Adebayor

Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor is a former professional footballer from Togo who played the forward position. He was known for his excellent goal-scoring ability and his exceptional athleticism.

He had a long and successful career playing in England, having represented clubs such as Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace.

Adebayor made his professional debut with Metz in France in 2000, and quickly made a name for himself in one of Europe’s top leagues.

After signing with Arsenal in 2006, Adebayor established himself as one of the Premier League’s top strikers and even won the 2007-08 Premier League Golden Boot award. He spent two and a half successful seasons with Arsenal before joining Manchester City in 2009.

Adebayor had a brief, but successful stint with City before being loaned to Real Madrid in 2011. After his time in Spain, Adebayor returned to the Premier League in 2012, first signing with Tottenham Hotspur until 2015, and then joining Crystal Palace in 2016.

Throughout his career, Adebayor was known for his ability to score goals from distance and in the air, and he is still remembered fondly by fans of the clubs he represented.

21. Benni McCarthy

Benedict Saul McCarthy is a South African football coach and former player who is currently working as a first-team coach at Manchester United. Prior to his position at Manchester United, McCarthy was the head coach of South African Premier Division team AmaZulu.

McCarthy was a forward during his playing days, and he is also the all-time top scorer for the South Africa national team, having scored 31 goals in his career.McCarthy has had a long and successful career in football, and it all started when he was a player.

He was renowned for his speed and accuracy, and this helped him to become the South Africa national team’s all-time top scorer. McCarthy’s playing days eventually came to an end, but he stayed involved in the sport by becoming a coach.

He initially took the head coaching job at AmaZulu, where he was responsible for leading the team to success in the South African Premier Division.Following his success at AmaZulu, McCarthy moved on to his current position at Manchester United.

He is now the first-team coach for the Premier League club, and he is responsible for helping the team reach its goals.

McCarthy’s years of experience as a player and a coach have made him an invaluable asset to Manchester United, and he is sure to be an important part of the club’s future success.

22. Mikel John Obi

Mikel John Obi is a Nigerian former professional football player who made a name for himself through his defensive midfield play. He started his career with Plateau United, a local club in Nigeria, at a young age and quickly made a name for himself.

In 2004, at the age of 17, Mikel moved to Norway to join Lyn, a Norwegian club. This was an important move for him as it was his first professional step to playing in a foreign league. His time at Lyn was successful and it was here that he began to showcase his talent.

His time in Norway helped increase his profile and eventually led to him signing for Chelsea in 2006. Since then, Mikel has gone on to play for other top clubs, including Inter Milan and Tiajin TEDA, as well as playing for the Nigerian national team in multiple tournaments.

He has achieved a great deal in his football career and is now retired.

23. Vincent Enyeama

Vincent Enyeama is a former Nigerian professional footballer who made a name for himself in the sport due to his impressive goalkeeping abilities.

Despite being shorter than the average goalkeeper, he has managed to become one of the most accomplished African goalkeepers in the history of the sport. His incredible reflexes and agility make him a formidable opponent, and his leadership skills make him an asset to any team.

He is renowned for his ability to read the game and make quick decisions, which has helped him to become one of the best African goalkeepers of his era. Enyeama has also made several appearances for the Nigerian national team, and has captained the side on several occasions.

His career has been filled with successes, and his legacy as one of the greatest African goalkeepers will live on for years to come.

24. Mohamed Aboutrika

Mohamed Aboutrika is a former professional footballer from Egypt. He was a versatile player with the ability to play in multiple positions. His primary position was as an attacking midfielder, but he could also play as a forward.

Aboutrika had a successful career in the Egyptian Premier League, as well as making appearances in the African Cup of Nations. He was an integral part of the Egyptian team that won the African Cup of Nations in 2008.

Aboutrika was renowned for his vision and skill on the ball, and he was widely regarded as one of the best players in Egypt during his playing days.

After retiring from football, Aboutrika is still an active figure in the Egyptian football community, and remains an inspirational figure for many aspiring footballers.

25. Yakubu

Yakubu Ayegbeni is a former professional footballer from Nigeria. He was a striker, and was widely known by his nickname, “The Yak”. His career began at the age of 16 when he joined Julius Berger F.C. in Nigeria.

Yakubu quickly established himself as a prolific goalscorer, and continued to do so throughout his career. He had a successful spell with Portsmouth in England, scoring 35 goals in 65 appearances. He also had spells with clubs in Israel, England and China.

Yakubu was part of the Nigerian national team from 2000 to 2014, and scored 21 goals in his 57 appearances. He was renowned for his strength and power on the pitch, and was a feared forward for many defences.

Yakubu was also known for his ability to score from the penalty spot, having scored from 12 of his 13 penalty attempts in the English Premier League. Yakubu’s career was cut short due to injury, but he will always be remembered as one of Nigeria’s greatest footballers.

26. Rashidi Yekini

Rashidi Yekini was a renowned Nigerian professional footballer who was primarily known for his goal scoring prowess. He was considered one of the most prolific strikers in the game and is Nigeria’s all-time top goalscorer.

He played in seven different countries during his career, which spanned over two decades. Yekini began his career in Nigeria, where he made a name for himself as a talented forward.

He then moved to Portugal, where he joined Vitória de Setúbal and spent the majority of his career. During his time in Portugal, he won the Primeira Liga title and the Portuguese Cup.

He also had successful stints in Saudi Arabia, where he won the Saudi-Prince Faisal bin Fahd Cup, and in Qatar, where he won the Qatar Stars League. Yekini also played in Greece, France, Oman and even returned to Nigeria to end his career.

He had a successful career in each country he played in, and he was highly respected for his skill and athleticism.

He was known for his determination and hard work, and he was beloved by fans in each country he played in. Rashidi Yekini was an iconic player who achieved great success during his career. He was a highly accomplished player who made a lasting mark on the sport of football.

He will always be remembered for his unwavering passion and commitment to the game.

27. Bruce Grobbelaar

Bruce David Grobbelaar is a former professional footballer from Zimbabwe. He was a goalkeeper and enjoyed a long and successful career in the game, playing for Liverpool between 1981 and 1994, as well as for the Zimbabwean national team.

Grobbelaar made an instant impact with Liverpool when he joined the team, quickly becoming a fan favorite and a key figure in the team’s success. He was renowned for his acrobatic saves and his ability to make difficult saves look effortless.

Grobbelaar was also a key member of the Zimbabwean national team, where he represented his country in several international tournaments. He was an integral part of the side that reached the final of the African Cup of Nations in 2004.

Grobbelaar is also remembered for his sense of humor and his willingness to entertain fans with his antics on the pitch. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game.

28. Rigobert Song

Rigobert Song Bahanag is a highly-regarded former professional footballer from Cameroon. He is currently the manager of the Cameroon national team, a role he has held since 2019.Song was well-known during his playing career for his excellent defensive skills.

He usually featured in the centre-back position, but he also had the ability to play at right-back.

He was a mainstay in the Cameroon squad for over a decade, earning a total of 137 caps and becoming the most capped player in the country’s history.His playing achievements include helping Cameroon to victory in the 2000 African Cup of Nations, in which he was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

He was also selected for three FIFA World Cup squads, helping the Indomitable Lions reach the quarter-finals in 1990.Song’s playing career saw him move around Europe, playing for clubs such as Galatasaray, Liverpool and West Ham United.

He returned to his homeland in 2006, where he played for several clubs before retiring in 2011.Since his retirement, Song has become an important figure in Cameroonian football, managing the national team from 2019.

He has been credited with helping to improve the team’s performances, and has also helped to foster a new generation of talented young players.

29. Thomas N’Kono

Thomas N’Kono is an iconic figure in African football, renowned for his immense talent and skill as a goalkeeper. He began his career in Cameroon with Tonnerre Yaoundé, before going on to make his name with Spanish side Espanyol.

With the Catalan side, he earned a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, making more than 300 official appearances over the course of almost a decade.

His impressive performances saw him earn the nickname of ‘Saint Thomas’, as he was renowned for his incredible reflexes and agility between the posts.

It was during his time at Espanyol that N’Kono was selected to represent the Cameroon national team, with whom he helped win the African Cup of Nations in 1984 and 1988, cementing his place as one of the greatest African footballers ever.

30. Mohamed Barakat

Mohamed Barakat Ahmed Bastamy is a retired Egyptian footballer who has made a significant impact on the African footballing scene. He is considered by many to be one of the most talented players from Africa.

His career began at his hometown club Al Ahly, where he made a name for himself as an attacking midfielder or right winger. With his right foot, he was able to create chances for his teammates and also score goals himself.

He quickly became a fan favorite and was eventually called up to represent the Egyptian National Team. Barakat’s skill and creativity on the ball was remarkable.

His ability to control the ball and to find the right pass or shot was something that set him apart from other players. He was often praised for his ability to pick out the perfect pass and his vision on the pitch was second to none.

He was also a great set piece-taker, with a deadly free kick. Barakat’s career was filled with great moments and a lot of success. He was part of the Al Ahly team that won four consecutive Egyptian league titles as well as the CAF Champions League in 2005.

He also represented Egypt in the African Cup of Nations on three occasions and was part of the team that won the 2008 tournament. Overall, Mohamed Barakat Ahmed Bastamy is a legendary figure in African football and a great ambassador for the sport.

His talent and skill on the field will be remembered for many years to come.

31. Wael Gomaa

Wael Kamel Gomaa El Hawty is a retired professional footballer from Egypt who was renowned for his ability to play centre-back. During his career, he was considered one of the best African defenders of all time.

He was known for his impressive ball-control and strong defensive abilities. He was able to read the game well and was rarely caught out of position. He was able to make crucial interceptions and tackles, while maintaining a high level of concentration.

Even after retirement, Wael Kamel Gomaa El Hawty is still remembered for his defensive prowess and for being a key part of Egypt’s successful defence in African Cup of Nations tournaments.

His legacy as one of the best African defenders of all time is well deserved, and he will always be remembered for his impressive contributions to the game.

32. Mustapha Hadji

Mustapha Hadji is an accomplished football coach and former player from Morocco. He is highly respected in the world of African football, having been named the 50th greatest African player of all time by the African football expert Ed Dove.

Hadji has enjoyed a successful career in football, both as a player and a coach. He has managed a number of teams in his native Morocco, as well as in Europe, and has won several accolades along the way.

As a player, he represented Morocco at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, making him the first Moroccan to do so. He was also the first Moroccan player to score a goal in the World Cup. In addition, he has won multiple Player of the Year awards during his playing career.

As a coach, Hadji has achieved success with clubs in Morocco, Spain, and France, and has also taken charge of the Moroccan national team.

His achievements as both a player and coach have made him an icon within the world of African football, and his recognition as the 50th greatest African player of all time is a testament to his impressive career.

33. Mahmoud El Khatib

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Mahmoud Ibrahim Ibrahim El Khatib, also known as Bibo, is a retired Egyptian footballer and the current President of Al Ahly. He is widely respected as the greatest Egyptian footballer of all time, and one of the greatest African footballers in history.

Bibo’s career as a footballer began in the 1970s when he joined Al Ahly, one of the most successful teams in the Middle East. He quickly became a key player, helping the team to numerous titles. He was nicknamed “Bibo” because of his exceptional ball control and dribbling.

Bibo’s exceptional talent was soon recognized beyond Egypt, and he was invited to play for teams in Europe and South America. He was the first Egyptian to play professionally in Europe, and was one of the first African players to feature in the prestigious Copa Libertadores.

Bibo was named the African Footballer of the Year in 1977, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 2000. After retiring from playing, Bibo continued to stay involved in the game. In 2002, he was appointed President of Al Ahly and has since helped the team to achieve great success.

Under his leadership, Al Ahly have won numerous domestic and international titles, including the CAF Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. He has also been instrumental in raising the profile of African football, and in promoting the development of the sport in Egypt.

Bibo’s legacy as one of the greatest African footballers of all time is undeniable, and he will be remembered for his immense contribution to the game.

34. Emmanuel Amunike

Emmanuel Amunike is an esteemed Nigerian football figure who is well known for his contributions both on and off the pitch. As a professional football player, he played as a winger and was widely considered to be one of the best wide players in the country.

His professional career spanned over 15 years, during which time he won several major trophies and awards. After retiring, Amunike has continued to make a significant impact in the football world.

He is currently the assistant coach of the Nigeria national team, and is responsible for helping the team to achieve success in international competitions.

Furthermore, he has also been involved in several coaching and management roles in the past, including working with some of the top clubs in the Nigerian league.

His hard work and dedication to the sport have been widely praised, and he is revered as one of the most important figures in Nigerian football.

35. Théophile Abega

Théophile Abega Mbida, nicknamed Doctor, was a Cameroonian football player and politician. He was known for his prowess in the midfield, being an integral part of the Cameroon national football team.

He played all three matches in the African Cup of Nations in 1976, and was a part of the team that made it to the semi-finals of the tournament. Mbida was also known for his political career, having been a prominent figure in the Cameroonian National Assembly.

He represented the Mouvement pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social party, and was the Minister of the Interior from 1979-1982.

He was an advocate for democracy in Cameroon, and was an important figure in the country’s transition to a multi-party system. Mbida was a beloved figure in his country, and was known for his generosity and humility.

He was an important figure in the history of both sports and politics in Cameroon, and his legacy lives on.

36. Tony Yeboah

Anthony Yeboah is a name that is renowned in African football history. He was a professional footballer who played as a striker and was known for his prolific goal scoring ability.

He is widely considered to be one of the greatest Ghanaian and African forwards of all time. Yeboah began his career in his native Ghana at a young age, playing for several clubs before moving to Europe in 1988, where he had a stint in the German Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt.

During his time in Germany, Yeboah scored a number of memorable goals, including a stunning volley against Bayer Leverkusen in 1992, that was voted goal of the season.

He also won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1993. After his time in Germany, Yeboah moved to the English Premier League where he played for Leeds United.

He enjoyed a successful period at Leeds, scoring goals frequently and winning the Premier League Goal of the Month award twice.

He also earned a reputation as one of the most clinical strikers of his generation, leading the Premier League in goals per game for the 1996/97 season. Yeboah also represented the Ghanaian national team on numerous occasions, scoring 20 goals in 43 appearances.

He was part of the team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1992 and he also captained the side in the 1996 tournament. Anthony Yeboah is an undisputed legend of African football.

He is revered by fans of both Ghana and Leeds United, and his name will live on in football history as one of the most prolific strikers of all time.

37. Patrick M’Boma

Henri Patrick Mboma Dem is a retired Cameroonian professional footballer who had a successful career as a striker. He is highly regarded for his impressive goal-scoring record with the Cameroon national team.

In fact, he is the fourth all-time top goal-scorer for the Cameroon national team. During his career, he scored an impressive 22 goals in 64 appearances for the national team. Mboma Dem had an illustrious career with his national team as well as with his club teams.

He won two African Cup of Nations titles with his national team in 2000 and 2002. He was also the top scorer in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, scoring four goals in the tournament.

Throughout his club career, he played for various clubs in Europe and Africa, including FC Metz, Parma, Al Ittihad, and FC Nantes. He was also named African Footballer of the Year in 2001.

Mboma Dem is remembered for his exceptional goal-scoring ability and his prowess on the pitch. He was an attacking force to be reckoned with and was able to score goals in the most difficult of situations.

He is an icon of Cameroonian football and his legacy will continue to live on.

38. Noureddine Naybet

Noureddine Naybet is one of the most accomplished defenders of his generation. Originally from Morocco, he made a name for himself playing for Sporting CP in Portugal and Tottenham Hotspur in England.

His most notable successes, however, took place in La Liga, where he was considered one of the best defenders of his time. Naybet began his professional career in his home country of Morocco, playing for several clubs, including Raja Casablanca and Maghreb Fez.

In 1996 he moved to Europe when he signed with Sporting CP in Portugal. The move proved to be a successful one as Naybet quickly became an integral part of the team’s defense.

He would go on to play for Sporting CP until 2002, when he transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in England. At Tottenham Hotspur, Naybet continued to impress with his defensive prowess, helping the club to reach the League Cup final in 2002.

After two years in England, he returned to Spain in 2004 to join Deportivo de La Coruña.

At Deportivo, Naybet’s experience and leadership played an important role in the team’s success, as they won the Copa del Rey in 2004 and finished runner-up in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2005. Noureddine Naybet’s career was at its peak during his time in La Liga, where he became one of the most respected defenders in the league.

He was renowned for his aerial ability, tactical awareness, and leadership skills, and was often referred to as a “rock” in the back line.

Naybet retired in 2008 after a successful career that saw him win several trophies and earn a reputation as one of the best defenders of his generation.

39. Kalusha Bwalya

Kalusha Bwalya is a Zambian former professional footballer who made a huge impact on the Zambian football scene. He is considered to be one of the best players to have ever played in Zambia and is the eighth-most capped player in the country’s history.

He is also the third highest goalscorer of all-time in Zambia, with only Godfrey Chitalu and Alex Chola having scored more goals than him. Bwalya made his debut for Zambia in 1988 and went on to play for the national side for over a decade, earning a total of 85 caps and scoring 37 goals.

He was part of the Zambian team that reached the African Cup of Nations final twice, in 1994 and 1996, and was also part of the team that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012. Throughout his career, Bwalya has won numerous awards, including the Zambian Footballer of the Year award on four occasions.

He was also voted African Footballer of the Year in 1996 and was inducted into the Confederation of African Football Hall of Fame in 2013. Bwalya’s legacy in Zambian football is undeniable.

He has been an inspiration to many and is remembered fondly by the footballing community in Zambia. He is a true icon of Zambian football and has made an immense contribution to the game in the country.

40. Laurent Pokou

Laurent N’Dri Pokou was an Ivorian professional football player who played as a striker, or a forward. He was born in Ivory Coast and was a part of the national football team of his country.

He was known for his powerful shots and his ability to score goals.Pokou began his career with the Ivorian club, Stade d’Abidjan. Later, he was signed by French club Stade Rennais F.C. in 1971. During his time at the French club, he scored a total of 50 goals in 78 appearances.

He was one of the most important players for the team, and was a major influence in their successful seasons. Pokou was a prolific goalscorer, and was known for his superb skills and technique on the pitch.

He was also an excellent passer, and was capable of creating chances for his teammates.

He was a very important player at the club, and was an integral part of the team for many years. Despite his success, Pokou was also known for his outspoken nature and his tendency to argue with the referees.

This caused him to be suspended for a few matches, but he was always welcomed back with open arms by his fans and teammates. Pokou retired from professional football in the late 1970s.

Since then, he has been honoured with several awards and accolades for his excellent football career. He is remembered as one of the best players in French football history.

41. Karim Abdul Razak

Karim Abdul Razak Tanko is a highly accomplished Ghanaian football coach and former midfielder. He is well-known for his time in the 1970s and 1980s, having represented many teams throughout his career.

Notably, he played for the local club Asante Kotoko and the fabled New York Cosmos in the now-defunct North American Soccer League. During his time with Asante Kotoko, he helped them to win the Ghanaian FA Cup in 1976.

His time with the New York Cosmos was also highly successful, helping the team to win the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1982. Tanko has since become a respected coach, having managed various clubs in the West African region.

He has also served as an assistant coach for the Ghanaian national team. His wealth of experience has no doubt been an invaluable asset to the teams he has served and will continue to aid him in his future endeavors.

42. Jean Manga Onguéné

Jean Manga Onguéné is a former professional footballer from Cameroon who was famously known for his ability to play as a centre-forward.

He had a successful career and was highly respected for his skill and talent, eventually earning him the title of African Footballer of the Year in 1980.

This award is given to the best African player in a given year and is seen as a great honor to receive. Jean Manga Onguéné was seen as a role model for many aspiring young players in Cameroon.

He was known for his hard work, determination and drive, and was an inspirational figure in the country’s football scene.

He is someone who is still fondly remembered today and serves as a reminder of the importance of striving for excellence. Onguéné was also known for his charitable work. He was involved with a number of organizations that help to support disadvantaged communities in Cameroon.

He was passionate about giving back to his country and ensuring that everyone had a fair chance to succeed. Overall, Jean Manga Onguéné was a great footballer and a great example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.

He was highly respected and revered for his skill and commitment to the sport, and his legacy continues to live on today.

43. Kazadi Mwamba

Robert Kazadi Mwamba was a professional goalkeeper who had a successful career playing for two major African football clubs. He began his career with TP Mazembe, a team based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

During his time with Mazembe, he made several appearances in the CAF Champions League and the African Cup of Nations. Mwamba then transferred to Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he represented the national team at the 1974 World Cup.

He was known for his agility and reflexes, and his presence in the goal was a major factor in Zaire’s success in the tournament. After his playing career, Mwamba went on to become a coach and was the manager of the Zaire national team from 1976 to 1979.

He also served as a technical director for the Zaire Football Federation and was a member of the CAF Executive Committee. Robert Kazadi Mwamba was an important figure in African football and his legacy will be remembered for many years to come.

His career stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of African footballers in the face of adversity.

44. Salif Keïta

Salif Keïta Traoré, more commonly known as Keita, is a retired footballer from Mali. He played as a striker and is known as one of the best African footballers of all time.

He was the first African player to be awarded the African Footballer of the Year award in 1970. Keita’s career began in his native Mali, where he played for the national team and several local clubs.

He was renowned for his skill and agility, and soon became a renowned African footballer.

He was so successful as a footballer that he earned the nickname “The Black Panther” due to his strength and speed. In 1970, Keita won the African Footballer of the Year award, becoming the first African player to receive the prestigious title.

This accomplishment was a huge milestone for African footballers and helped to inspire countless young African players to pursue professional football careers. Keita’s influence extended beyond the football field.

He was an advocate for African unity and was heavily involved in the Pan-African movement. He also served as the president of the Confederation of African Football from 2000 to 2013. Keita retired from professional football in the early 2000s, but his legacy lives on.

He is remembered as one of the greatest African footballers of all time and his influence has helped to shape African football for generations.

45. Segun Odegbami

Patrick Olusegun Odegbami, more commonly known as Segun Odegbami, is a renowned former professional footballer hailing from Nigeria. As a player, Odegbami typically occupied the position of a forward, a role in which he excelled.

His career spanned from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, during which time he was known as one of the best footballers in Nigeria. Odegbami was born in 1956 in Ogun state, Nigeria, and began his football career at the relatively young age of 17.

He quickly developed a reputation for his strong attacking play, and soon earned himself a spot in the Nigerian National Football Team.

During his time with the national team, Odegbami was part of a squad that won the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations, and was subsequently named African Footballer of the Year. In addition to his success as an international footballer, Odegbami also had a successful club career.

He played for several Nigerian clubs, including Shooting Stars, IICC Shooting Stars, and Stationery Stores. He also had a brief stint with the French club Olympique de Marseille in the mid-1980s.

Throughout his time in the Nigerian domestic leagues, Odegbami was widely regarded as one of the best players in the country. Following his retirement from professional football, Odegbami went on to pursue a career in broadcasting, working as a football analyst for television in Nigeria.

He is also a respected advocate for the development of football in Nigeria and is a regular presence at footballing events. Overall, Patrick Olusegun Odegbami, more commonly known as Segun Odegbami, is a true Nigerian footballing legend.

His success as a player and his ongoing efforts to promote the development of the game have solidified his reputation as one of the greatest footballers to ever come out of Nigeria.

46. Tarak Dhiab

Tarak Dhiab is a highly accomplished former professional footballer from Tunisia. In 1977 he was recognized by the African Footballer of the Year award, an accolade that honors the best performing African footballer of the year.

He is listed by the Tunisian Football Federation as having 107 caps for the Tunisia national team, which is the number of appearances he has made for the team. This number, however, has not yet been ratified by FIFA, the international governing body of football.

This means that FIFA has not officially recognized Dhiab’s 107 caps. Despite this, Dhiab has still made a notable contribution to the sport and is widely respected among fans and fellow players alike.

47. Joseph-Antoine Bell

Joseph-Antoine Bell, who is also known as JoJo Bell, was a professional footballer from Cameroon who played the position of goalkeeper. He was born and raised in Cameroon and began playing football at a young age.

He was a talented player, honing his skills and improving his abilities throughout his career. He was eventually noticed by professional teams and signed a contract to play professionally. During his career, he played for several teams, including the Cameroon national team.

He was a highly respected player who was known for his remarkable skill and ability to keep the goal safe. During his career, he won several awards and accolades, including the African Player of the Year Award.

After his career ended, he became a coach and a mentor to many younger players. He has been an inspiration to many aspiring footballers and has been a role model for those who look up to him. He is remembered fondly as one of the greatest African goalkeepers of all time.

48. Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan is a renowned former professional footballer who hails from Ghana. He played as a striker during his professional career, becoming one of the finest players in the position the country had ever seen.

His outstanding performances led to him captaining the Ghana national team, a position of immense pride and responsibility. Gyan is one of the most decorated African footballers in history, having claimed multiple accolades for both club and country.

At the international level, he was a key member of the Ghana squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first African side to reach that far in the tournament’s history.

He also won the African Cup of Nations in 1982, becoming the first Ghanaian to do so. At the club level, Gyan was equally successful, helping his side to win numerous trophies and awards.

He played for numerous clubs during his career, most notably Sunderland in England, Al Ain in the UAE, and Shanghai SIPG in China.

His impact at these clubs was undeniable, as he provided countless moments of brilliance and goals that will remain in the minds of fans for many years to come. Gyan’s legacy will remain for many years to come.

As one of the best strikers to ever play the game from Ghana, his contributions to the sport have been invaluable. His achievements will go down in history as a testament to his greatness, and his name will be remembered by fans of the beautiful game for years to come.

49. Jeffrey Schlupp

Jeffrey Schlupp is a talented footballer who has enjoyed a successful career in the Premier League. He currently plays for Crystal Palace and has also been a member of the Ghana national team. Schlupp is a versatile player, capable of playing in a range of positions.

He has usually been deployed as either a left-back, central midfielder, left winger or forward throughout his career. This has enabled him to be used in various tactical systems and formations, allowing his managers to get the best out of him.

His ability to play in multiple positions has been a major asset to his clubs and has been key to his successful career.

Conclusion

There is no one definitive answer to the question of who the best players in Africa are. Each country and region has an abundance of talented footballers, and the list of the continent’s best players is constantly changing as new talent emerges.

However, some players have stood out as consistent performers both domestically and internationally, and these players can be confidently considered the best of the best in Africa.

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Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn