As far as great African Footballers of All-time are concerned, there are questions aplenty.
The greatest challenge about listing Top 10, Top 50 or Top 100 Great African players is who do you leave out? Who will make your starting lineup? Take Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, George Weah, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Kanu, Benni McCarthy, Abedi Pele, El Hadji Diouf, Tony Yeboah – who leads your attack?
Do you pick Michael Essien or Sunday Oliseh ahead of Mohamed Aboutrika? What about the greats of decades ago – Steve Mokone, Jomo Sono, El-Khatib, Madjer, Roger Milla and others?
In celebration of Africa Day, FARPost has avoided going the route of listing great African players but we have put together an African XI featuring footballers, who have made a mark in world football. How well do you think this line up will fare?
Essam El Hadary (Egypt)
The legendary goalkeeper, who did duty for Al Ahly and the Pharaohs, has made a mark on the continent. His superb displays for both club and country has seen him as a mainstay in Al Ahly and Egypt jersey. For consistency and being a perennial winner, El Hadary gets the nod between the posts.
Rigobert Song (Cameroon)
The former captain of Indomitable Lions led from the back with determination and commitment to the cause. He had the heart of a lion and could play as rightback or centreback.
Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast)
The Ivorian has given solid performances over a number of seasons while turning out for Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool and his national team. He used to play different positions at the back. He can play anywhere in defence hence he gets the nod.
Lucas Radebe (South Africa)
Unlike other countries, South Africa, with the exception of 1996 Afcon winning squad, rarely had a team that was collectively strong. It was individuals who stood out and former Bafana Bafana and Leeds United captain stood head and shoulders during his tenure. He couldn’t be faulted for hard work and his leadership skills will come in handy at the back.
Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
Arguably the best box-to-box midfielder to come out of the continent. There was a point where Yaya was the best player in the world. He could defend and score goals. He was a vital cog in Manchester City’s rise. He also served Barcelona extremely well. He also led his country to Afcon glory in 2015.
Michael Essien (Ghana)
It’s rare to find a midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira, who can be relentless in protecting defence and also make charges up field. The Ghanaian was a key player for Chelsea and his country. He get to babysit this team.
Jay Jay Okocha (Nigeria)
The Nigerian trickster did amazing things with the ball. His creativity and overall influence on the game casts him as a playmaker in this side. With Okocha on the side, chances of getting goals are highly likely.
Mo Salah (Egypt)
The Liverpool forward is one of the best players in the world at the moment. In Egypt, he is without equal. Salah has set the scene alight in Europe. He has contributed massively to Liverpool’s resurgence. He has also tried to carry Egypt to continental glory. Salah doesn’t have to be an out and out striker. He can play on the left or right wing or behind the strikers. He has an eye for goal and is a plus for any team.
Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)
The most decorated African footballer of his generation. The potent striker from Cameroon has proved beyond doubt that he is one of the greatest in the game. Eto’o has performed well in Spain, England and Italy. He won silverware everywhere he has been. He has won a number of individual awards. With pace, skill and a great scoring prowess, Eto’o was an unstoppable force.
George Weah (Liberia)
The first and only African to win the coveted Fifa World Footballer of the Year. His feat in 1995 highly exceeds the greatness of Weah. He is currently the President of Liberia. He scored goals as if they were going out of fashion. He will lead the attack flanked by Eto’o and Drogba.
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
The Chelsea legend lifted his country from relative obscurity to the limelight. With an impressive goal scoring pedigree, Drogba has always been a constant threat to any defence. He was also great on set plays.
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
Sammy Kuffour (Ghana)
Mohamed Aboutrika (Egypt)
Benni McCarthy (South Africa)
Abedi Pele (Ghana)
Sadio Mane (Senegal)
Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo)
Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)
Riyard Mahrez (Algeria)
COACH: Pitso Mosimane (South Africa)
In the last decade, Mosimane has emerged as the face of coaching in Africa. His exploits for Mamelodi Sundowns, whom he elevated to the top of Africa football. Since joining Egyptian giants – Al Ahly, Mosimane has continued his winning ways. If there’s a coach who can get the best out of an African team, it has to be the man who hails from Kagiso, west of Johannesburg.
By Hosea Ramphekwa