Kolo & Yaya Toure, the Ayew brothers and the top 10 African football siblings

The continent is awash with a number of talented and related footballers; here are 10 of the most successful examples of families that have reached the peak of the game
By M.J. Somoni

Cameroonian brothers Francois Omam-Biyik and Andre Kana-Biyik may not have blazed the trail as the first African siblings to play top-flight football in Europe, but they are best remembered for their contribution to the Indomitable Lions during the 1990 World Cup in Italy, thereby making them household names in Africa.

Since then, a number of siblings have donned their national team colours while also making waves at top European clubs. Often these players face each other in league competition and inevitably comparisons are made between the related professionals.

Below are the top 10 African football siblings currently playing at the highest levels of the game in Europe and Africa.

10) Kolo, Yaya and Ibrahim Toure

When Kolo Toure moved from Arsenal to Manchester City in July 2009, few imagined that a year later, the 30-year-old Ivorian defender would be joined by his younger brother, Yaya Toure, at the club. In the 2010/2011 season, the Ivorian brothers helped City to win the FA Cup, their first trophy in 35 years.

The pair have been a crucial part of the Ivorian national team in the past decade, with the Elephants climbing the Fifa rankings over the years to emerge at the African summit in the latest review of the world governing body standings. Their younger brother, Ibrahim, also plays for Egyptian top-flight side Misr El Makasa as striker, and a future in Europe may not be far off if his older siblings are any indication.

9) Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng

The Boateng half-brothers found themselves in a perplexing situation during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Kevin-Prince donned the colours of Ghana while Jerome represented Germany. The situation became the stuff of history books when the two faced each other on opposing teams on 23 July, 2010 when Ghana took on Germany. The Black Stars lost 1-0, but the match marked the first day the two brothers had played for opposing teams in an international match.

At club level, Kevin joined Genoa from Portsmouth last year but was shipped on loan to Italian giants AC Milan the same season. He proved key to their successful campaign, and after earning his stripes as a Scudetto winner, the Rossoneri signed him permanently. At the same time last year, his brother Jerome moved to Manchester City from German side Hamburg, but stayed only a single term, winning the FA Cup. Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich signed the player last week.

             Andre             Rahim

8) Andre, Jordan and Rahim Ayew

Abedi Pele was a legend during his time as a player, having won the Uefa Champions League with Marseille in 1993 and playing with great skill and determination for various European clubs and the Ghanaian national team. His three sons have followed in his footsteps and are currently carving their own niche on the pitch.

Andre Ayew and his younger brother Jordan play for French giants Marseille. Andre scored 11 goals for the club during the 2010-11 season. Older brother Rahim turns out for Belgian club, Lierse.  Andre and Rahim have already starred in Ghanaian national teams at U17, U20, U23 and the senior level. Andre is a current U20 World Cup champion after a superb victory in 2009 for Ghana. He was a crucial element of the victorious junior team.

7) MacDonald Mariga, Victor Mugubi, Thomas and Sylvester Wanyama

The four Wanyama siblings are amongst the most successful football families in Africa. Their father was a Kenya and AFC Leopards striker in the 70s and 80s, but when MacDonald Mariga finally moved to Inter on February 2010 after a transfer to Manchester City was scuppered by work permit regulations, it opened a new chapter for the family. Despite a lack of playing time at San Siro, the Harambee Stars symbol has played well when called upon.

Few were surprised when his brother Victor Mugubi snatched a move to Scottish giants Celtic from Belgium’s Germinal Beerschot earlier this month. Thomas and Sylvester play for Sofapaka and Sony Sugar respectively in the Kenya Premier League. MacDonald, Victor and Thomas are regulars in the Kenyan national team.

6) Kalu and Ikechukwu Uche

Kalu Uche is best known for his acrobatic goal celebrations, but the striker is a regular in the current Super Eagles team as with his Spanish club Almeria. Kalu featured prominently during Nigeria's campaign at the 2010 African Cup of Nations and World Cup later that year.

His younger brother Ikechukwu Uche also plies his trade in Spain with Real Zaragoza. He has represented the Super Eagles since 2007, making 25 appearances for Nigeria and forming part of the squad under various coaches since his debut.

5) Asamoah and Baffour Gyan

Asamoah Gyan shot to prominence last year when he guided Ghana to the quarter-finals of the Fifa World Cup with three goals to his name. But he sunk the hearts of millions when he missed a decisive penalty against Uruguay in the last minute of extra time that would have taken the Black Stars to the semi-finals of the competition.

His impressive performances allowed him to move from Rennes to English Premier League club Sunderland last year where he installed himself as the first choice striker for the club. His older brother Baffour Gyan has played for Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko since 2009. Baffour has also represented the national team.

4) Arouna and Bakari Kone

Arouna Kone is easily distinguishable with his white-dyed crop of hair. But the 27-year-old Cote d’Ivoire striker has had a stellar football career both at national team and club level. Arouna, who returned to his club Sevilla after spending a one-year loan at Hannover, has been part of the Elephants squad together with his older brother Bakari Kone who last year moved to Qatar side Lekhwiya from Marseille.

After starting his career at ASEC Mimosas, Bakari spent seven years in Ligue 1 with Lorient, Nice and finally Marseille, scoring over 70 goals during his time in France.

3) Christopher and Felix Katongo

Christopher and Felix Katongo have been regular members of the Zambian national team since 2003 when Christopher made his debut. His 27-year-old brother joined the Chipolopolo fold the following year and since then, they have made over 100 appearances between them.

Christopher joined Chinese club Henan Construction from Greek Super League side Skoda Xanthi this month while Felix joined Libyan club Al Ittihad last year from Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa's Premier Soccer League.

Khune makes a save | The keeper denies Peter Crouch with a stunning leap

2) Itumeleng and Lucky Khune

24-year-old Itumeleng Khune has been a player at Kaizer Chiefs since 1999, rising through the ranks to become first choice keeper for the Amakhosi, as well as the South African national team, Bafana Bafana.

The highlights of his career have been his first-choice goalkeeper appearances at the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa. As keeper for the host nation he had a great deal of pressure on his young shoulders, but his performances were commended, despite a dubious sending off against Uruguay in the group stages of the competition. His younger brother, Lucky Khune also plays for Chiefs, and although the striker is yet to fully break into the squad, he has earned a handful of appearances in recent times.

1) Mustapha and Youssouf Hadji

Mustapha Hadji retired last year at the age of 36 after a rewarding career that took him to over seven top-flight clubs in Europe, while being the linchpin of the Moroccan national team.

His younger brother Youssouf who plays for Nancy took over the national baton and has been leading the line for the Atlas Lions for some time now. The pair also have a younger brother Brahim who plays in the German lower leagues for SV Klarenthal 1911.