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Best African Football Players in 2022

Nov 02, 2022 01:00PM ● By Anand Subramanian

In addition to its share of current and former international stars, Africa has a long history of producing players who have changed the game forever. Professional footballers from Africa are a symbol of the continent's prosperity. The continent, however, also has a plethora of great footballers who might one day write their names into the record books. Some legendary players have come out of it throughout the years, who have gone on to compete on a global stage for elite clubs and set several records along the way. Here are the five finest African footballers of 2022. 

Wilfried Zaha

Born on November 10, 1992, Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha is a striker for Premier League club Crystal Palace and the Ivory Coast national team. Having come through Crystal Palace's youth system, Zaha eventually made it to the senior squad in 2010. A total of 18 of his goals came in his three seasons at Selhurst Park. Manchester United paid an initial sum of £10 million to get him in January 2013. (the most expensive Crystal Palace player sold at the time). For the remainder of the season, Zaha played on loan for Palace as he contributed to their promotion back to the Premier League. Zaha spent most of the 2013–14 season on loan at Cardiff City from Manchester United, where he was ultimately unsuccessful. He returned to Palace in August 2014 for another loan season and signed with them permanently on February 2015. Since then, he has been the club's 12th all-time leading scorer. Although he was born in the Ivory Coast, Zaha has lived in England since he was four. In 2012, he debuted for the England national team in two exhibition games. For the Africa Cup of Nations conducted in 2017, he decided to play for Ivory Coast instead of England after sitting out for four years. The striker born in Abidjan is still a threat to full-backs with his speed and skill, but he has improved dramatically in recent years as a goal scorer. Time is running out for Zaha to appear on the grandest platform since he could not assist Ivory Coast in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Sadio Mane


Born on the 10th April 1992, Sadio is a Senegalese professional footballer who plays for the Bundesliga Bayern Munich and the Senegal national team. Known for his pushing, dribbling, and pace, he is widely considered one of the best performers on the planet and one of the greatest Black players of all time. He began his professional life working for Metz. And then he went to Red Bull Salzburg, where he played for a season before signing with Southampton. When on the offensive, Sadio Mane is deadly. In reality, since 2015, he has scored seven goals in 11 outings for Senegal. His offensive skillset is top-notch, as he can quickly dribble and distribute the ball. Nonetheless, it is his quickness that sets him apart. He can utilize his fast feet to his advantage in attack and defense. What his peak speed is, we don't know. However, it has to be relatively rapid since he may swiftly change sides in the field. And defenders need a lot of effort to keep up with him. As a football player, he excels as well. He also has superb ball control. This means he can aid his side in keeping the ball for extended periods. Mané signed a deal with Bayern Munich on June 22, 2022, lasting until June 30, 2025, to play in the Bundesliga. Depending on playing time and individual/team accomplishments, the stated €32 million (£27.4m) cost might increase to €41 million (£35m). Mane made his debut on 30 July 2022, scoring his first professional goal in Bayern's 5-3 triumph against RB Leipzig in the 2022 DFL-Supercup at the Red Bull Arena. A week later, in a 6-1 win against Eintracht Frankfurt, he scored his first goal in the Bundesliga.

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Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey, a midfielder from Ghana, may not be a household name. However, he has been making waves in the Premier League and beyond. The 28-year-old Partey is a starter for the Ghana national team. In 2013, Partey started his professional career with the Spanish club Atlético Madrid. He then spent time on loan with Mallorca and Almera before returning to Atlético in 2015. In 2018, he won the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup with Atlético. With his move to Arsenal in 2020, he set a new record for the highest transfer fee ever paid for a Ghanaian athlete, at £45 million (about €50 million). In Spain, he also plays for Atlético Madrid, where he has had tremendous success. The Spanish club is one of the most illustrious in football history. With Partey leading the way, they are well on regaining their status as a dominant team in their sport. Since he wasn't even a starter before the season began, the fact that he was chosen M.V.P. is all the more impressive. He got his chance when another player was hurt and made the most of it. WhoScored also recognized him as one of the season's top performers. It's no minor achievement that Thomas ranked second in the league in tackles per game and third in successful dribbles per game. Partey was promoted to vice-captain as Ghana prepared for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations & 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaigns. All or Nothing: Arsenal, an Amazon Original sports documentary series in which Partey had a role, followed the club throughout the 2021-22 season, spending time with the coaching team and players behind the scenes and off the field.

Edouard Mendy


To win the Champions League in 2020, Chelsea spent just £22 million for Mendy, who promptly returned the club for its investment with solid play in his first season with the Blues. As a young player, Mendy began his career in his home France, where he competed in the Le Havre academy before earning a professional contract with Cherbourg of the Ligue 3 in 2011. After being dismissed in 2014, Mendy nearly gave up on football until being given a chance with Marseille's reserve team. In the following seasons, he became a mainstay for Reims and Rennes. His rookie year saw him become the first African goalie to play for the club's first squad, and he finished with a Premier League record of 16 clean sheets.Additionally, Mendy helped Chelsea win their second UEFA Champions League title by keeping a clean sheet in the championship game. He finished the season with nine clean sheets, which tied the record. Qualified to play for Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and France, Mendy originally joined Guinea-Bissau in honor of his father but later switched allegiance to Senegal, where he became the first-choice goalkeeper for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, enabling Senegal to a runners-up finish. He also won The Best FIFA Goalkeeper of 2021 and The UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year awards. He was voted the tournament's best goalkeeper in 2021 and helped his country win the Africa Cup of Nations by keeping a clean sheet in the final. The former Rennes keeper is not just an excellent shot-stopper but also a commanding presence in the penalty area.

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Wilfred Ndidi


Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi is a professional footballer for the Premier League club Leicester City and the Nigeria national team. He was born on December 16, 1996. Ndidi excels both defensively and with long-range shots. A lot of people consider Wilfred Ndidi to be the finest African player of all time. However, he hasn't always had a smooth ride. This season, he has been an integral component of Leicester City's unexpected success, starting every Premier League game and averaging over four successful tackles per game. He has been so successful that Nigeria has included him on its World Cup squad. Ndidi scored his first season goal for Leicester City on January 19, 2021, when they played Chelsea in the league. Leicester finished the game with a 2-0 victory, moving them to the top of the league standings. After the Group Stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2021, the Confédération Africaine de Football (C.A.F.) selected Ndidi as a replacement for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the best team of the tournament. This was announced on January 22, 2022.

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 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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