Top 10 Greatest African Footballers Of All Time

For decades, Africa has been a breeding ground for exceptional footballing talent. Players from across the continent have graced some of the biggest clubs and international stages to show their potential to the world.

This guide provides a list of the top 10 greatest African footballers of all time and you will learn about their impressive careers, and achievements, including awards, iconic moments, and playing styles.

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Who Are The Greatest African Footballers Of All Time?

  • George Weah
  • Roger Milla
  • Samuel Eto’o
  • Didier Drogba
  • Abedi Pele
  • Jay-Jay Okocha
  • Rabah Madjer
  • Essam El-Hadary
  • Nwankwo Kanu
  • Mohamed Sallah

1. George Weah


George Weah, a famous footballer from Liberia, is considered one of Africa’s best players ever. Weah is known for his speed, skill, and scoring ability. He played for clubs in France, Italy, and England for 14 years.

Weah started in Monaco in 1988, then moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992, where he won big titles. He then joined AC Milan in 1995, achieving success by winning the Serie A twice.

Later, he played for Chelsea and Manchester City in England, winning the FA Cup with Chelsea. However, he ended his career with Marseille and Al Jazira. On the international stage, Weah played for Liberia, earning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals.

He didn’t play in a FIFA World Cup but won awards like FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or, which are big achievements for an African player. Besides football, he also went Into politics in Liberia, becoming a senator and eventually the President in 2018.

2. Roger Milla


Roger Milla, also known as Albert Roger Miller did something amazing in his career. Even though most players retire when they are around 38 years old, Milla is still playing at his best. He played in three World Cups for Cameroon.

But it was the 1990 FIFA World Cup that made him famous. At that time, he was 38 years old. He scored four goals in that World Cup, making him the oldest player to score in a World Cup. This helped Cameroon reach the quarter-finals. Four years later, in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Milla did something incredible again. This time, he was 42 years old.

He scored a goal, breaking his record as the oldest goal-scorer in World Cup history. People loved watching Milla play, not just because he was good at football, but also because of how he celebrated his goals.

After scoring, he would run to the corner flag and do a special dance that made people happy. In 2004, Pelé, one of the greatest football players ever, named Milla in the FIFA 100 list, which celebrates the best players in the world.

Then, in 2007, the Confederation of African Football named Milla the best African player of the past 50 years. When Milla retired, he held the record for the most goals scored by an African player in the FIFA World Cup finals, with five goals.

3. Samuel Eto’o


Samuel Eto’o is one of the best African players In football history, having won the African Player of the Year four times. Eto’o started playing football when he was young. He went to Real Madrid when he was 16, then he played for Mallorca and scored 70 goals.

In 2004, he went to Barcelona and scored 130 goals in five years. With Barcelona, he won major trophies like La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, Eto’o also played for Inter Milan and won more trophies. He was the first player to win two European trebles in a row.

After that, he played for other teams like Chelsea and Everton. Even when he got older, he scored lots of goals for Antalyaspor in Turkey. For Cameroon, Eto’o was exceptional too. He won the Africa Cup of Nations and played in the World Cup four times.

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4. Didier Drogba


Didier Drogba is famous for his time with Chelsea, having scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player. He is known for his strength, speed, and ability to hit the ball. Drogba was named African Footballer of the Year twice.

He started his professional career with Le Mans and later played for Guingamp and Olympique de Marseille in France. In 2004, he joined Chelsea for a record fee.

Drogba helped Chelsea win the Premier League title and was named in the FIFA World XI in 2007. He then registered his 100th Premier League goal in 2012.

Drogba’s memorable moment was in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, where he scored the equalizer and the winning penalty for Chelsea against Bayern Munich.

Moving on, he also played for Shanghai Shenhua, Galatasaray, Montreal Impact, and Phoenix Rising. For Ivory Coast, Drogba scored 65 goals in 105 appearances. He led the team in three FIFA World Cups and two Africa Cup of Nations finals.

However, Drogba retired from international football in 2014 and retired from professional football in 2018. Off the field, Drogba played a role in the peace process in Ivory Coast and was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme.

In 2018, he became Vice President of Peace and Sport. Drogba’s impact on and off the field makes him one of the greatest African footballers of all time.

5. Abedi Pele

abedi pele

Abedi Pele is regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time. Pele’s career started with Real Tamale United in Ghana before moving to clubs in Qatar, Benin, France, and Germany.

His notable clubs include Marseille, where he played an important role in winning several league titles and reaching the European Cup finals. Internationally, Abedi represented Ghana 73 times.

Although he never got the chance to play in the FIFA World Cup, he showed his talent in the African Championships. One of Abedi’s best performances was in the 1992 African Cup of Nations, where he was named player of the tournament despite missing the final due to suspension. He earned the nickname “The African Maradona” for his remarkable skills on the field.

Abedi received recognition for his excellence, winning awards like the France Football African Player of the Year and the BBC African Sports Star of the Year. He also holds the record for the most appearances at the African Cup of Nations.

6. Jay-Jay Okocha

jay jay okocha

Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha played as an attacking midfielder and represented the Nigeria national team 73 times between 1993 and 2006, scoring 14 goals. Okocha participated in three FIFA World Cup tournaments during his career.

His football career took him across different leagues. He began in the Nigerian Professional Football League with Enugu Rangers before moving to Borussia Neunkirchen in Germany’s third division.

Throughout his career, he displayed remarkable skills and versatility, playing in the Bundesliga, Süper Lig, Ligue 1, Premier League, EFL Championship, and Qatar Stars League.

Okocha is famous for his agility, skill, and creativity on the field, and he’s widely regarded as one of the best African footballers of all time. His style of play, characterized by confidence, clever trickery, and smooth dribbling skills, earned him respect from fans and pundits worldwide.

Okocha’s trademark moves, including the “Okocha stepover,” dazzled fans and influenced players like Mesut Özil and Ronaldinho. Despite not being known for prolific goal-scoring, Okocha possessed a powerful shot and was renowned for his free-kick abilities.

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7. Rabah Madjer

rabah madjer

Rabah Mustapha Madjer was a fantastic football player from Algeria. He played as a striker and became famous while playing for Porto during the 1980s. Fans consider him one of the best Algerian footballers ever.

During his time with Porto, which lasted for six years, he won nine major titles. These included three national championships and the impressive 1987 European Cup. Madjer’s career in European football started in 1983 when he joined Racing Club de France football Colombes 92.

Then, in 1984–85, he moved to Tours FC. But it was his time at FC Porto that made him popular. His biggest moment was in the 1987 European Cup final against Bayern Munich. In that game, he scored the crucial equalizer that helped Porto win.

He also played a key role in their victory in the Intercontinental Cup that same year. Although Madjer faced some challenges, like an unsuccessful transfer to Inter Milan due to an old thigh muscle injury, he kept going.

He even won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1987. Internationally, Madjer played for Algeria for 19 years. He was part of the team in the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cup finals. After retiring in 1992, Madjer became a coach, having managed different clubs, and also coached the Algeria national team.

8. Essam El-Hadary

essam el hadary

Essam El-Hadary is one of the greatest African footballers ever. Fans call him the “High Dam.” He played most of his career for Al Ahly, which is one of the biggest teams in Egypt. With them, he won lots of titles including the Egyptian Premier League and the CAF Champions League.

El-Hadary also played for Egypt’s national team, recording 159 appearances, and won the Africa Cup of Nations four times with Egypt. He was good at the goalpost and was named the best goalkeeper in the Africa Cup of Nations three times.

In 2018, El-Hadary made history. At 45 years old, he became the oldest player to ever play in the FIFA World Cup. In fact, he saved a penalty in one of the matches. Even though Egypt didn’t win, his performance was amazing.

After retiring from playing, El-Hadary became a coach. He retired from international football in 2018, but we still remember him.

In 2019, his gloves from the World Cup were put in a museum. They honored him for being the oldest player in the tournament and the first African goalkeeper to save a penalty.

9. Nwankwo Kanu

kano nwankwo

Nwankwo Kanu had an incredible football career, playing for the likes of Iwuanyanwu National, Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion, and Portsmouth.

He also won lots of trophies, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, and three FA Cups. Kanu is one of the few players Nigerian players to win the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup, and an Olympic Gold Medal.

He once had a serious heart problem, but he got better after surgery. Apart from football, Kanu helps kids with heart problems through his Kanu Heart Foundation.

He is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and owns a sports TV company. Kanu played for Nigeria’s national team, scoring 13 goals in 86 games. In 2022, he was named the best Nigerian football player ever.

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10. Mohamed Salah

Mo salah

Mohamed Salah has established himself as one of the greatest African footballers of all time. Not just Africa, he is one of the best players of his generation In football history.

He currently plays as a right winger or forward for the Premier League club Liverpool and captains the Egypt national team. Sallah is known for his exceptional finishing skills, dribbling, and speed.

His career took off in 2010 when he started playing for Al Mokawloon Al Arab before moving to Basel in 2012. He then made his mark in the English Premier League with Chelsea, followed by successful stints with Fiorentina and Roma.

In 2017, Salah joined Liverpool for a record transfer fee, where he has since become an integral part of the team’s success.

Internationally, Salah has represented Egypt with greatness. He has won multiple awards including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Golden Boot In multiple times.


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