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5 Famous African Soccer Players

Aug 02, 2022 11:00AM ● By Anand Subramanian
collage of African soccer players

The finest Black soccer players in history have affected the game as some of the best overall athletes in sports history. Soccer players may leave a legacy in a variety of ways. The international competition enables players to represent their country, with elite leagues providing an annual opportunity to further their careers. Each athlete on the list succeeded in various ways, paving the way for the future.

Europe or European players predominate in football. But let us not ignore the African continent's significant contribution. Africa has provided world football with some famous players who have created magic for their clubs and countries throughout the years. African football has a lot of depth and quality.

Let us look at the top five finest African players who have inspired millions throughout the world:

Essam El-Hadary (Egypt)

The goalkeeper, often known as "The High Dam," is one of Egypt's most decorated players and one of the finest African footballers of all time. He made his Pharaohs debut in 1996. He has four African Cup of Nations championships with them, three of which have come in consecutive years (2006, 2008, and 2010).

He became the oldest player in a FIFA World Cup match at 45. The game was contested versus Saudi Arabia in the 2018 edition in Russia. With Al Ahly, he won the Egyptian league eight times. He also won the Sudanese league championship with Al-Merreikh.


Sadio Mane (Senegal)

Few people from the small community of Bambali can achieve what Sadio Mane has accomplished in his career. The winger rose to prominence at RB Salzburg while playing for FC Metz. His accomplishments drew the attention of Southampton, who paid £10 million for his services. Jugen Klopp took him to Anfield in 2016; the rest is history.

In 2019, he won the Champions League with the Merseyside club. The same year, he shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Senegalese also had a role in ending Liverpool's 30-year wait for the Premier League championship. Mane was also a member of Senegal's 2022 AFCON winning squad. As a result, he is one of Africa's most decorated footballers.

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Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)

The former Cameroon international is well-known. Samuel Eto'o, like Yaya Toure, has won the African Footballer of the Year award four times. He won an Olympic gold medal in 2000, three Champions League championships (two with Barcelona and one with Inter Milan), and appeared in two finals.

Eto'o has also won three league championships with Barcelona and one with Inter Milan. He was instrumental in Barcelona's treble-winning season in 2008-09. The striker is the AFCON and Cameroon's all-time leading goalscorer. Eto'o's power and speed made him a dangerous attacker.


Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)

The Nigerian participated in three different World Cups for his country. Unfortunately for Kanu, he could never triumph in the African Cup of Nations, even though he already had a gold medal from the Olympics. He led Ajax to victories in the Champions League and the Eredivisie on three separate occasions. The striker was also a member of "The Invincibles," the nickname given to the Arsenal team. Arsene Wenger led during the 2003–04 season.

Despite all of this success, he was forced to go through the humiliation of relegation with Portsmouth in the latter stages of his career. Additionally, he was awarded the title of African Footballer of the Year on two occasions.


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Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’ (Ghana)

Abedi Ayew was used in the position of offensive midfielder for the team. In 1982, he led the Black Stars to victory in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). Ten years later, it was reported that he had also won the Player of the Tournament award. The final was decided by penalties, and unfortunately for Ghana, they lost to Ivory Coast. He won the French League One championship with Marseille in each of the years 1991, 1992, and 1993. (last title scrapped due to a scandal).

The midfielder also helped the team win the UEFA Champions League in 1993, prevailing against AC Milan in the finals. In the end, he was deemed the most valuable player on the field. Additionally, the Ghanaian was named African Footballer of the Year three times throughout his career.


 Anand Subramanian is a freelance photographer and content writer based out of Tamil Nadu, India. Having a background in Engineering always made him curious about life on the other side of the spectrum. He leapt forward towards the Photography life and never looked back. Specializing in Documentary and  Portrait photography gave him an up-close and personal view into the complexities of human beings and those experiences helped him branch out from visual to words. Today he is mentoring passionate photographers and writing about the different dimensions of the art world.

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