To be counted among the best one has to demonstrate focus, skill, and determination. The best football players in Africa have demonstrated these qualities in abundance; they have stood tall against their contemporaries from any corner of the world, gaining recognition for themselves, and bringing pride to the continent.
Aside from dominant club displays, they have demonstrated the same amount of fervor playing in their countries’ colours. In victory or defeat; they have shown pride in wearing their countries jerseys; and have underlined the importance of the game in the continent.
Africa’s biggest players are also some of the highest rated football stars in the world; they are wanted by all the top clubs.
Top 10 Best Football Players In Africa 2020
| Rank No.
|| Sadio Mane
|| Mohammed Salah
|| Man City
||Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
That is our list in brief. Why don’t you take a moment to find out how they performed in detail, thus justifying their various positions on our list.
Top 10 Best Footballers In Africa 2022
1. Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane has been the man in the spotlight as far as African football is concerned. Not just African football; the only player in the whole world who has outperformed Sadio Mane within the past 12 months is Frenchman Karim Benzema who was the dynamo driving the all conquering Real Madrid team.
Sadio Mane has been the driving force in Liverpool; no player has fought harder, sweat the shirt more, and carried the team more than Sadio Mane recently. After the loss to Real Madrid he decided to leave the club; Sadio Mane is now a Bayern Munich player. The same commitment and dedication with which he played for Liverpool was what he brought to Senegal; Sadio Mane was instrumental in Senegal’s victory at the AFCON; including the hard-fought final against Egypt.
Thanks to Sadio Mane and his teammates, Senegal has its first AFCON trophy.
2. Mohamed Salah
Mohammed Salah is one of the most feared forwards in football today; he won a Golden Boot again in the English Premier League, and has been instrumental in his team’s achievements both locally and on the continent. Aside from the trophies won, he also played two finals: the Champions League Final, and the AFCON final which were lost to Real Madrid and Senegal respectively.
Nevertheless, Mohammed Salah once again proved himself a big game player; he fought hard; and registered shots on target, despite being accorded special attention by the opposition defense.
He has exceptional speed and balance; and his supreme confidence helps him drive into opponent areas and keep his team on the front foot. He is always a threat; up until the final whistle is blown, he never gives up.
3. Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez has become increasingly important for Manchester City; there are not many left footed wingers of his quality in the game at the moment. While Riyad Mahrez is quick; speed has never really been his strong suit. He dribbles his way forward, and supplies key passes into the opponent box for his teammates to score. Riyad Mahrez is full of potential; Pep Guardiola has stated that he sees so much in the player; he could become one of the best in the world.
Riyad Mahrez is a man of glory; he was part of Leicester City’ title winning team of 2015-16. Recall that Leicester City is a mid table team, and that title win is the only one in its history. Riyad Mahrez also propelled Algeria to win the African Cup of Nations in 2019. Since then he has won several trophies at Manchester City.
Riyad Mahrez is one of the most influential African players at the moment; whenever he is on the field his presence is felt. He drives his team forward; rallies his troops, and leads by example.
4. Mohamed Abou Gabal (Gabaski)
When it comes to being so good that the whole continent has its eyes on you, and everything you do becomes a trend; there is no better example in Africa than Gabaski. Egypt’s goal-keeper is simply known as Gabasky, but that is actually a nickname. He was born Mohamed Qotb Abou Gabal Ali on 29 January 1989. He got the nickname for his unstoppable performances for club Zamalek.
Over the years Gabaski has been in great form for club and for country; he is well decorated- having won more than 8 winners medals in his career. At the AFCON of 2022 he was the people’s choice. In fact, his exceptional performances at the African Cup of Nations rank as one of the best footballers in Africa.
Gabasky even started a trend among goal keepers; he writes the position where players are likely to place their penalties, and glues it to his water bottle. Now goal-keepers all over the world do the same.
5. Edouard Mendy
Edouard Mendy was in position to be named the best goalkeeper in the world, but he missed out on that. He was named the best goalkeeper at the AFCON held in Cameroon in 2022. He was a steady hand; and squared up nicely to some of Africa’s finest forwards, including Mohammed Salah, Marwan Hamdy, and Bertrand Traoré.
Edouard Mendy was also in brilliant form for Chelsea in the England; he recently bagged two trophies; The UEFA Super Cup 2021, and the FIFA Club World Cup 2021 (which was played in 2022). Add that to the AFCON 2021 (played in 2022) which he won with Senegal, and garnish that with his individual awards such as UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season: 2020–21, The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper: 2021, and Africa Cup of Nations Best Goalkeeper: 2021.
Edouard Mendy is a class goal keeper; one of the best in the world.
6. Franck Kessie
Performance wise; Franck Kessie has been in thunderous form in Europe recently; 31 league matches, 6 goals, 76 aerial duels and 83 tackles, and to crown his efforts a nice big trophy! He was one of the major figures in AC Milan’s recent title win after 11 years of waiting.
Frank Kessie is one of the best midfielders in the world at the moment; while he may not score in every game, but he dominates passion; always running to retrieve the ball, and to turn it forward into attack. His passing ability is also top notch; and his presence is a motivation for his teammates to get forward.
Frank Kessie has now been snapped up by Barcelona; the Spanish giants are in the process of rebuilding so as to reclaim their position as one of the biggest clubs in the world.
7. Achraf Hakimi
Achraf Hakimi has come a long way; he is now recognized as one of the best wing backs in football at the moment. Defensively, he is solid; he stops attackers in their tracks, and he possesses the mental aggressiveness to make life difficult for opponents. But the main thing that stands out for Achraf Hakimi is that he is very mobile.
When he charges forward; he possesses the speed to catch the opponent unawares. His dribbling is also very effective; he has been known to get past several defenders on his way to goal.
Achraf Hakimi has been instrumental to PSG’s title win in 2021-22; he played 32 league games, scoring 4 times, and creating several chances. Aside from the trophy with PSG, Ashraf Hakimi is quite a decorated player; he has a La Liga, and Champions League Trophy with Real Madrid, as well as Serie A win with Inter Milan.
8. Kalidou Koulibaly
Kalidou Koulibaly has been called “K2” and “The Wall” by fans. These names are well deserved because he is probably the best center back in the world at the moment. Kalidou Koulibaly attained distinction while playing at Napoli; from 2014 to 2022 he was an essential part of the team, and part of clubs ambitions for the future.
Kalidou Koulibaly stands 6ft 1, and is completely dominant in the air. He is one of the most complete players in game; very few players can match him for strength, marking, and agility. Kalidou Koulibaly is truly a wall at the back; he is extremely difficult to get past, and he exudes confidence, helping the team to charge forward to victory.
Kalidou Koulibaly was part of Senegal’s AFCON winning team in 2022. He already has some silverware to his name; he had already won the Belgian Cup in 2012-13 with Genk, as well as the SuperCopa Italia and Copa Italia with Napoli in 2014 and 2019-20.
Kalidou Koulibaly has always attracted top clubs; he is set to show his class in the English Premier League; with his move to Chelsea he is set to play for a club that has the ambition to match his abilities.
9. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is a top player any day. He proved that in Germany, in England, and now in Spain. Aubameyang has helped Barcelona to second place in the La Liga standings; he has been a leader on and off the field for the club which is in the process of rebuilding so as to retake its place as one of the world’s top clubs.
The world may never know what truly happened between Aubameyang and Mikel Arteta; leading to his exit from Arsenal, but he has rebounded quite solidly; he went on to score 11 goals for Barcelona, including a perfect hat trick in the league. That that to the 4 goals he already scored for Arsenal in the same season, and he gets 14 goals.
Pierre Aubameyang is one of the deadliest goal poachers in football today; and he has enough accolades to show it; FA Cup: 2019-20, FA Community Shield 2020, DFB-2016-17, and DFL Supercup 2013, and 2014. He also has too many personal accolades to count.
10. Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey is a combative defensive midfielder, and has been at the heart of Arsenal and Ghana’s games. He is strong and athletic, and provides adequate cover for the back four with his strong tackling, and excellent marking. He has not only been good at the back; he has propelled the team forward.
Thomas Partey packs a thunderous shot; he has the ability to catch defenders unawares with long range shots; and his general passing ability is great. Thomas Partey is an asset to his team; he has the fighting spirit which he picked up at Athletico Madrid; he is a fighter.
He got the decisive goal against Nigeria to qualify his country for the world cup. Some of his accolades include; La Liga: 2020–21, UEFA Europa League: 2017–18, UEFA Super Cup: 2018, and several individual honours.
The best football players in Africa mostly ply their trade in Europe; but performance in the continent’s biggest football showpiece; the African Cup of Nations is becoming more important in deciding who merits consideration. Africa is brimming with talent; the continent now produces players that compete consistently for honours on the world stage.