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African All Stars

Ranking Africa’s greatest Eredivisie winners

7:00 AM SGT 21/5/19
Kanu and Finidi
Goal rank the continent’s top stars to have got their hands on the Dutch title

  • Noussair Mazraoui Hakim Ziyech Ajax

    Africans in the Eredivisie

    There was a major African contribution to this year’s Eredivisie title race, with Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam building their success upon a strong backbone from the continent.

    Andre Onana, Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui have all earned plaudits for their fine performances both domestically and in Europe, while Zakaria Labyad also made 12 appearances in the league as the title was secured. 

    While few Eredivisie-winning sides have had such a significant African presence, some of the continent’s top stars have won the grandest prize in the Dutch game before.

    Here are our top five African Eredivisie winners.

  • Sunday Oliseh

    Sunday Oliseh

    The first of several Nigerians on this list, Oliseh moved to Ajax in 1997, just missing their glorious European triumph in the middle of the decade.

    The talented defensive midfielder, who scored a magnificent goal for Nigeria to down Spain at the 1998 World Cup, moved onto Juventus and Borussia Dortmund after winning the Dutch title with the Amsterdam giants.

    The 44-year-old later had a brief—and tumultuous—spell as Super Eagles head coach.

  • Kalusha Bwalya

    Kalusha Bwalya

    One of the continent’s finest ever players, Kalusha won the African Football of the Year award in 1988, the same year that he devastated Italy at the Olympics as part of a stunning Zambia team that had the potential to conquer African football.

    His form with Cercle Brugge earned him a 1989 move to PSV Eindhoven, where he’d win two Dutch titles.

    Subsequently, Finidi enjoyed an eight-year stint as the president of the Zambian Football Association, before being banned for two years by FIFA after being found guilty of breaking Fifa’s Code of Ethics.

  • Finidi George - Ajax

    Finidi George

    There weren’t too many wingers who could compete with Finidi during the early-to-mid 90s, even if the winger did struggle to make his mark in English football with Ipswich Town.

    He was part of Nigeria’s magnificent 1994 Africa Cup of Nations-winning team, a year before he won the Champions League as part of a superb Ajax side.

    Finidi, who represented the Super Eagles at two World Cups, was also a defeated UCL finalist in 1996, and ended his tenure in the Netherlands with three Dutch titles among a swathe of other honours.

  • Benni McCarthy, Cape Town City

    Benni McCarthy

    Like a few other players on this list, the crowning glory of McCarthy’s career came in the Champions League, where he was a winner with FC Porto under Jose Mourinho in 2004.

    The current Cape Town City FC coach remains, to this day, South Africa’s only winner of the European Cup.

    Earlier in his career, he clinched a Dutch league and cup double with Ajax in 1998, before enjoying a fine scoring sojourn in English football with Blackburn Rovers.

  • Nwankwo Kanu - Ajax

    Nwankwo Kanu

    Along with Finidi, Kanu was a Champions League winner with Ajax, as part of the fine team that clinched the European title in 1995.

    He ended his time with Ajax with 25 goals in 52 matches, before moving onto further successes with Internazionale, Arsenal and Portsmouth.

    He also picked up the UEFA Cup, an Olympic gold medal, two Premier Leagues and the FA Cup, with both Pompey and the Gunners.

    The legendary forward represented Nigeria at three World Cups, but never won the Africa Cup of Nations title.