By Kent Mensah
Over the years, African footballers have played a key role in winning the prestigious Champions League for their clubs.
Cote d’Ivoire international Didier Drogba is the latest case in point following his immense performance to help Chelsea record their first-ever Champions League triumph after a 4-3 win on penalties over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last Saturday.
Goal.com looks back through the roll of honour to place the spotlight on five African players whose heroic contributions in the tournament resulted in the ultimate prize for their clubs.
|5. BENNI McCARTHY | South Africa & Porto
In 2004, the 34-year-old helped Porto win the coveted trophy and his key contribution was in a particularly important encounter against Manchester United in the round of 16.
He scored two goals to overturn a first-leg deficit and aided his side's progress to the final, where they beat Monaco 3-0 to hoist the cup. He is also Bafana Bafana's all-time top scorer with 31 goals.
|4. ABEDI PELE | Ghana & Olympique Marseille
Abedi, whose two sons are playing in Ghana’s current Black Stars outfit, won the Champions League in 1993 with Marseille.
The 47-year-old supplied the assist to team-mate Basile Bolli to score the winning goal in the Munich final against AC Milan, who would go on to be crowned champions the following year.
|3. SAMMY KUFFOUR | Ghana & Bayern Munich
The 35-year-old was an integral part of the Bavarian side that won the 2001 Champions League title, often providing the solidity and assuredness in defence and contributing in attack with his marauding runs.
Prior to that glorious moment, the Ghanaian tasted defeat against Manchester United in the 1999 final after a heartbreaking, dramatic 2-1 loss. In total, he made over 60 Champions League appearances throughout his glittering career.
|2. DIDIER DROGBA | Cote d'Ivoire & Chelsea|
He seemed to be at the right place at the right time against Bayern Munich and his efforts paid off after netting the equaliser and dispatching the decisive penalty in the shootout to end Chelsea's long overdue search for Champions League glory.
His former boss Jose Mourinho once said of him: “He is the kind of player I would tell: ‘With you I could go to every war'”. And so it proved.
|1. SAMUEL ETO'O | Cameroon, Inter & Barcelona|
The Cameroonian is regarded as one of the top strikers in world football, and was a great contributor to each of his side's triumphs in the elite club competition thanks to his goals and assists.
The four-time African Footballer of the Year is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most decorated players, perhaps only eclipsed by George Weah on the world stage, as the former AC Milan striker remains the only African to have won the World Player of the Year award.
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