The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations came to a close on Friday, as Algeria prevailed over Senegal with a 1-0 victory, so now seems like a perfect opportunity to reflect on some of the greats of African football.
From George Weah to Mohamed Salah, this is a list celebrating the very best the continent has has had to offer the world.
Here are the 50 greatest African players of all time.
50) Didier Zokora
Didier Zokora is the most-capped player in Ivory Coast’s history, having represented Les Elephants 123 times over 14 years.
The defensive midfielder enjoyed a varied club career where he played his football right across Europe, featuring for the likes of Saint-Etienne, Tottenham and Sevilla. While he was a solid defensive midfielder, goals were few and far between as he netted just three goals in 18 years.
49) Vincent Enyeama
The best African goalkeeper of the past decade, Vincent Enyeama is Nigeria’s joint-highest appearance maker with 101 caps to his name.
Enyeama acted as the Super Eagles’ vice captain for their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph and starred in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups – notably putting in a sensational performance against Argentina and Lionel Messi in the former tournament.
48) Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy first made a name for himself at the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations, finishing the tournament as the top scorer and best player.
He’s the only South African to ever win the Champions League, lifting the trophy with Porto in 2004, enjoyed a decent spell in the Premier League with Blackburn and finished his international career as Bafana Bafana’s top scorer.
47) Sulley Muntari
Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari spent four years at Inter between 2008 and 2012, playing his part in I Nerazzurri’s most successful period of the 21st century.
He earned eight titles during his time in Milan, which followed a single season in England with Portsmouth where he also played a central role in Pompey’s FA Cup win in 2008. On the international scene, Muntari appeared in two World Cups – scoring a sensational goal against Uruguay in 2010.
46) Alex Song
In his prime, Alex Song was a formidable midfielder who was a regular fixture in Arsenal’s midfield during his six years in North London, before going on to win La Liga with Barcelona in 2013.
The Cameroonian also performed well for the national team as he was named in the AFCON team of the tournament in 2008 and 2010, despite being unable to win any honours with his country.
Gervinho’s time at Arsenal was disappointing to say the least, but he has since gone on to forge an impressive career in Serie A, demonstrating his undeniable ability.
He was outstanding for Parma in 2018/19, netting 11 goals and three assists in 30 Serie A appearances, which was his most prolific season since his successful stint at Lille. It was especially impressive as he had only just returned from two years in the wilderness of the Chinese Super League.
44) Patrick M’Boma
Patrick M’Boma spearheaded Cameroon’s period of success at the turn of the millennium, leading the line for the Indomitable Lions as they earned the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, and won the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations.
He was voted as the African Footballer of the Year and BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2000, but his success on the international scene was unfortunately not replicated during a rather uninspiring club career.
43) Joseph Yobo
Alongside Enyeama, Joseph Yobo is the joint-highest appearance maker for Nigeria, featuring 101 times between 2001 and 2014.
Yobo is best known for his lengthy spell with Everton, where he proved himself to be a solid central defender, acting as a consistent force at the back for the Toffees for over seven years.
42) Tony Yeboah
Tony Yeboah is fondly remembered for his spectacular goals during his time with Leeds United, but he was also a well-rounded striker who proved himself to be capable in front of goal throughout his time in Europe.
He became the first black captain in Bundesliga history when he was given the armband at Eintracht Frankfurt, finished as the top Bundesliga scorer twice in 1993 and 1994 and then went on to score 32 times in 66 appearances for Leeds – becoming a cult hero in the process.
41) Kwadwo Asamoah
Kwadwo Asamoah has spent the entirety of his career in Serie A, representing Udinese, Juventus and most recently Inter, while also making over 70 appearances for Ghana.
He played an integral role in Juventus’ six league titles between 2013 and 2018, playing as an orthodox left-back, left wing-back and occasionally as an attack-minded wide midfielder. His versatility has also seen him play more centrally in the past, using his physicality and agility to great effect.
40) Marc-Vivien Foe
A hard-working defensive midfielder who was a key component for Cameroon, Marc-Vivien Foe’s life was tragically cut short after suffering heart failure at the 2003 Confederations Cup.
Foe earned plenty of success for Cameroon, as well as helping to win Ligue 1 with Lyon in 2002, before finishing his career with Manchester City. Continue reading…