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Best of Africa 100: The top 20

19:02 SAST 2019/10/11
Nwankwo Kanu & Jay-Jay Okocha of Nigeria
Who makes the BoA 100’s top 20 African players to feature in the Premier League?

  • Jay-Jay Okocha of Bolton and Ali Benarbia of Man City

    The Best of Africa 100

    Goal is delighted to present Part Nine of the Best of Africa 100, a celebration of the top hundred African players to have featured in the Premier League.

    The full list was first announced at the BoA awards ceremony on Sunday in London, and Goal will be unveiling the 100 throughout the week.

    Check out Part One of the BoA 100 here.

    BoA 100 Part Two

    BoA 100 Part Three

    BoA 100 Part Four

    BoA 100 Part Five

    BoA 100 Part Six

    BoA 100 Part Seven

    BoA 100 Part Eight

    Who would make your Best of Africa 100?

    Send over your suggestions using the hashtags #BoAAwards #BestofAfrica and #BoA


    Nwankwo Kanu

    An unpredictable superstar who twice won the African Footballer of the Year award and twice clinched the BBC prize.

    He won two Premier Leagues with Arsenal, and the FA Cup with Portsmouth, having earlier won the Champions League with Ajax.

  • Cape Town City, Benni McCarthy

    Benni McCarthy

    A Champions League winner with Jose Mourinho’s FC Porto in 2005, McCarthy moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2006, where he translated his excellent goalscoring form to the Premier League.

    Things didn’t go to plan at West Ham United, but in his prime, McCarthy was one of Africa’s most effective goal-getters.


  • Bruce Grobbelaar

    Bruce Grobbelaar

    Legendary Liverpool and Zimbabwe goalkeeper who is one of the finest stoppers ever produced by Africa.

    He was part of one of the Reds’ finest sides, and ended his career with six English titles—all won before the Premier League era.

    His career highlight was his performance in Liverpool’s penalty-shootout final victory over AS Roma in 1984.


  • Lauren Etame Meyer


    One of Arsenal’s legendary Invincibles team, Lauren was a member of the exceptional Cameroon side of the turn of the century, winning two African titles and an Olympic gold.

    In 2000, he outshone Eto’o, Patrick Mboma et al to win the Player of the Tournament award, and was a Premier League champion with the Gunners twice.

    He also won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008.


  • Yaya Toure Manchester City Premier League 2018

    Yaya Toure

    One of only two central midfielders—along with Frank Lampard—to score 20 goals or more in a Premier League season, Toure was one of the key figures in building the modern Manchester City.

    He won the Champions League title with Barcelona before moving to England, and went on to win the African Footballer of the Year award twice.

    Toure was also an African champion with the Ivory Coast in 2015.


  • George Weah AC Milan

    George Weah

    The only African player to win the Ballon d’Or, Weah’s best years were enjoyed with Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, with whom he won league titles.

    The Liberia great and current national president won two African Footballer of the Year awards, boasted the kind of natural talent that few continental stars could match, and spent time with Chelsea and Manchester City late in their career.

    The striker won the FA Cup with the Blues.


  • Nigeria 94 - Austin Jay Jay Okocha

    Jay-Jay Okocha

    One of the purest talents ever produced by Africa, but Okocha never truly won the silverware at club level to match his break-taking skill.

    He’s a legend at Bolton Wanderers, where he’s remembered as one of their finest players, and did win an Olympic gold and the African title with Nigeria.


  • Samuel Eto'o

    Samuel Eto’o

    Arguably the greatest African footballer of all time, Eto’o won three Champions League titles—with Barcelona and Internazionale—and was also named African Footballer of the Year on four occasions.

    He was a big-game player, with a superb goalscoring record, and demonstrated his quality in England late in his career with Everton and Chelsea.


  • Michael Essien Chelsea

    Michael Essien

    Injuries may have cost Essien his peak years, but he comfortably makes the cut for the BoA’s top 20 for his excellent contribution to the game.

    He’s a one-time African Footballer of the Year, a former English champion, and was part of the Chelsea team that won the Champions League in 2012.


  • Didier Drogba Chelsea 2018-19

    Didier Drogba

    No African player has had a greater impact in the English game than Drogba, who won a swathe of domestic honours with the Blues and was voted their greatest player in 2012.

    His finest hour came in 2012, when he almost single-handedly won the Champions League for the Pensioners.

    He’s also a two-time African Footballer of the Year.

  • Kolo Toure

    Kolo Toure

    An impressive physical specimen, who was a member of Arsenal’s Invincibles and would later go on to enjoy success with Manchester City before joining Liverpool.

    He was a member of the Ivory Coast’s Golden Generation, and was one of the more experienced heads in the Nations Cup-winning team of 2015.


  • John Obi Mikel's 10 years at Chelsea

    John Obi Mikel

    A Nations Cup winner with Nigeria in 2013, Mikel enjoyed a decade with Chelsea, winning league titles, FA Cups, and both the Champions League and the Europa League.

    He recently moved to Turkey after returning back to English football with Middlesbrough following a stint in China.


  • Finidi George

    Finidi George

    A lightning winger, boasting exceptional agility, who played in two World Cups for Nigeria and won the Afcon with the Super Eagles in 1994.

    During an early-career stint with Ajax, he won one Champions League final, and lost another, while also picking up three Dutch titles.

    Things din’t go completely to plan after he moved to the Premier League with Ipswich Town.


  • Geremi


    A versatile operator who never truly got the acclaim he deserved for his role in two excellent teams at Real Madrid and Chelsea.

    He was also part of the exceptional Cameroon side who won consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles and the Olympic gold in 2000.

    The two-time Champions League winner also struck a mean free kick!


  • Lucas Radebe Leeds United

    Lucas Radebe

    Radebe was elegance and consistency personified, becoming a cult hero at Leeds United after arriving at the club in 1994.

    He won the club's Player of the Season award in 1998, and Manchester United attempted to sign him two years later, only for Radebe to remain loyal.

    An Afcon winner in 1996, Radebe would feature for South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.


  • Rigobert Song of West Ham

    Rigobert Song

    One of only two players—along with Zinedine Zidane—to be sent off at two World Cups, Song starred for Cameroon at the 2002 Nations Cup, the second of two he won with the Indomitable Lions.

    The centre-back featured at four World Cups, and while things didn’t work out at Liverpool, he did win two Turkish titles with Galatasaray.


  • Noureddine Naybet of Deportivo La Coruna

    Noureddine Naybet

    Elegant centre-back who won a Spanish title with Deportivo La Coruna and was, like Radebe, ear-marked by Sir Alex Ferguson as a defensive option for his Manchester United side.

    Naybet was the epitome of consistency, and represented Morocco at two World Cups.


  • Mahamadou Diarra of Real Madrid

    Mahamadou Diarra

    Diarra only moved to Fulham late in his career, but the former Mali captain still contributed a lot in the heart of the Cottagers’ midfield.

    Earlier, he had been a stalwart for both Olympique Lyonnais and Real Madrid, winning the league title across six consecutive seasons in France or Spain.


  • Tony Yeboah (Leeds) vs Liverpool  FA Cup Quarter Final, 1996

    Tony Yeboah

    Another former Leeds great, Yeboah averaged just under a goal every other game for the Black Stars, and plundered goals a plenty in Germany and England.

    He scored 68 in 123 for Eintracht Frankfurt, winning two German Golden Boots, before being signed for Leeds. In England, the Ghana international made himself a fan favourite after scoring a series of sensational goals.


  • Daniel Amokachi - Spurts v Everton 04091995

    Daniel Amokachi

    Twice Amokachi made the podium for the African Footballer of the Year award, and was part of Nigeria’s Golden Generation that represented the nation at the 1994 World Cup, won the Afcon and clinched Olympic gold.

    At Everton, he was an FA Cup winner in 1995, scoring twice to eliminate Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-final.