Georges Weah, Joseph-Antoine Bell and Roger Milla : the history of Africa’s football in the Century (1900-1999). The IFFHS has honoured the best Century players in each Continent . A great moment for each confederation in the World.


Africa – Player of the Century

 1.George Weah            (Liberia)         95 2.Roger Milla            (Cameroon)        77 3.Abedi Ayew "Pelé"      (Ghana)           72 4.Lakhdar Belloumi       (Algeria)         56 5.Rabah Madjer           (Algeria)         51 6.Théophile Abega        (Cameroon)        39 7.Laurent Pokou          (Ivory Coast)     38 8.François Omam-Biyik    (Cameroon)        37 9.Ahmed Faras            (Morocco)         3510.Finidi George          (Nigeria)         3211.Kalusha Bwalya         (Zambia)          31   Mahmoud El-Khatib      (Egypt)           3113.Japhet N'Doram         (Chad)            3014.Youssouf Fofana        (Ivory Coast)     2915.Abdel Aziz Bouderbala  (Morocco)         28   Tarek Dhiab            (Tunisia)         2817.Rachidi Yekini         (Nigeria)         2718.Daniel Amokachi        (Nigeria)         2619.Labri Ben Barek        (Morocco)         22   Ali Bencheikh          (Algeria)         22   Segun Odegbami         (Nigeria)         22   Ibrahim Youssef        (Egypt)           2223.Tahar Abou-Zeid        (Egypt)           2124.Petit Sorry            (Guinea)          20   Anthony Yeboah         (Ghana)           2026.Emmanuel Amunike       (Nigeria)         19   Tshimemu Bwanga        (Congo-Kinshasa)  1928.Ali Abugreisma         (Egypt)           18   Papa Camara            (Guinea)          1830.Mohamed Timoumi        (Morocco)         1731.Karim Abdul Razak      (Ghana)           16   Chérif Souleymane      (Guinea)          1633.Nwankwo Kanu           (Nigeria)         1534.Victor Ikpeba          (Nigeria)         14   Jean Manga Onguene     (Cameroon)        14   Bengaly Sylla          (Guinea)          1437.Magdi Abdelghani       (Egypt)           13   Opoku (N'Ti) Afriye    (Ghana)           1339.Etefe Kakoto           (Congo-Kinshasa)  12   Robert Mensah          (Ghana)           12   Hany Ramzy             (Egypt)           1242.Cheik Mohamed Keita    (Guinea)          11   Djamel Lalmas          (Algeria)         1144.Adolf Armah            (Ghana)           10   Salah Assao            (Algeria)         10   Mark Fish              (South Africa)    10   Salif Keita            (Mali)            10   Serge-Alain Magui      (Ivory Coast)     10   Paul Moukila           (Congo-Brazzavl.) 10   Sunday Oliseh          (Nigeria)         10   Ibrahim Sunday         (Ghana)           10

The title „Africa – Player of the Century“ refers to an accolade that was awarded to the best African football (soccer) player of the 20th century. In the year 1998, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) conducted an extensive poll to determine the greatest African football player of the 20th century. Based on votes from various experts, journalists, former players, and coaches from all the continents, the Egyptian player Mahmoud El-Khatib was declared the African Player of the Century.

However, it is worth noting that in 2007, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) also had a separate poll where the Cameroonian player Roger Milla was honored as the best African player of the last 50 years. The difference in results of these two polls may be due to different voting bodies or criteria.

When discussing the greatest African footballers, names like George Weah from Liberia, who is the only African to win the Ballon d'Or (in 1995), and Didier Drogba from Cote d'Ivoire, as well as Samuel Eto'o from Cameroon, often come up in the conversation due to their outstanding contributions to the sport both in Africa and at international clubs.

The title „African Football Player of the Century“ refers to an honorary award given to the player considered to be the best African footballer over the 20th century. This recognition was usually determined through polls and voting conducted by footballing bodies, sports journalists, or other organizations.

One particularly notable award was given by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), which named the „African Player of the Century“ in 1999. The IFFHS award had two categories:

  1. Experts‘ vote: The Cameroonian forward Roger Milla was named the IFFHS African Player of the Century based on votes from experts, journalists, former players, and coaches worldwide.
  2. Users‘ vote: The IFFHS also had an internet vote, in which the Egyptian star Mahmoud El-Khatib won the accolade.

In addition to the IFFHS, various other organizations and media outlets may have named their African players of the century, and different entities might have different players who won such titles or received such distinctions.

It is worth mentioning that the legendary Ghanaian forward Abedi Pele and the Liberian star George Weah (who later became the President of Liberia) were also highly acclaimed during the 20th century and are often remembered among the greatest African players of all time. George Weah, in particular, won the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, making him the only African to win this award to date.

In the past decade, several African football players have won significant individual awards both within their respective leagues and on the international stage. Here is a list of some prominent award winners:

  1. Mohamed Salah (Egypt):
  • PFA Players‘ Player of the Year (2018)
  • Premier League Golden Boot (2018, 2019, joint-winner 2022)
  • African Footballer of the Year (2017, 2018)
  1. Sadio Mané (Senegal):
  • African Footballer of the Year (2019)
  • Premier League Golden Boot (joint-winner 2019)
  1. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria):
  • PFA Players‘ Player of the Year (2016)
  • CAF African Footballer of the Year (2016)
  • Premier League Player of the Season (2015-2016)
  1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon):
  • Premier League Golden Boot (joint-winner 2019)
  • African Footballer of the Year (2015)
  1. Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast):
  • African Footballer of the Year (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Note that while some of his awards are outside the past decade, his influence persisted through the early 2010s.
  1. Naby Keïta (Guinea):
  • Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Year (2016, 2017 while playing for RB Salzburg, not a major award but significant for his career development)

It's also important to recognize that African footballers have won numerous team awards and have been included in various Best XI teams and seasonal award shortlists, showcasing their talents at the highest levels of the sport. Please note that some African footballers might have won other significant awards in different leagues and competitions, but this list focuses on some of the most recognized individual honors.

Africa – Keeper of the Century

 1.Joseph-Antoine Bell    (Cameroon)        39 2.Thomas N'Kono          (Cameroon)        30 3.Sadok Attouga          (Tunisia)         26 4.Badou Zaki             (Morocco)         24 5.Mwemba Kazadi          (Congo-Kinshasa)  19 6.Jacques Songo'o        (Cameroon)        13 7.Bruce Grobbelaar       (Zimbabwe)        11 8.Ahmed Shoubeir         (Egypt)           10 9.Alain Gouaméné         (Ivory Coast)      910.Peter Rufai            (Nigeria)          6

The title „Africa – Keeper of the Century“ is an award that preserves the memory of the best African goalkeeper of the 20th century. This kind of accolade would typically be determined by polls, expert opinions, or the accolades that a goalkeeper has received throughout their career.

However, unlike the more publicized and widely recognized forward and midfield players, goalkeepers often receive less attention in such historical rankings. Despite this, there are African goalkeepers who have made a significant impact on the sport, both continentally and internationally, throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

One of the most celebrated African goalkeepers is the Egyptian legend Essam El-Hadary. Although he is known for his outstanding performances well into the 21st century, and especially for being the oldest player to ever appear in a FIFA World Cup match, his career began in the late 20th century, and his influence spans across both centuries.

Thomas N'Kono of Cameroon is another iconic African goalkeeper. His performances in the 1982 and 1990 FIFA World Cup tournaments placed him among the best in the world. He was named African Goalkeeper of the Year twice and served as an inspiration for generations of goalkeepers, including the Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon, who named N'Kono as his inspiration.

It's important to note that individual accolades like „Keeper of the Century“ can be subject to various interpretations and may not be officially sanctioned or recognized by all football governing bodies. To determine an official „Keeper of the Century“ for Africa, a comprehensive review and vote by authoritative football organizations would be needed. As of my knowledge cutoff date in early 2023, I am not aware of an official award by a major organization such as CAF or FIFA that specifically names the „Africa – Keeper of the Century.“

African footballers have made a resounding impact on the global stage, bringing a unique blend of athleticism, skill, and passion that has enriched the sport on every continent. Their influence extends beyond their prowess on the pitch; African players have become cultural icons, inspiring millions with their journeys from humble beginnings to the apex of the world's most beloved sport.

From trailblazers like George Weah, who transcended football to achieve political office in Liberia, to modern icons like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, who have dazzled fans with their performances in the English Premier League and Champions League, these athletes have shattered stereotypes and expanded the marketability of African talent. Their success has prompted major clubs to invest heavily in scouting and nurturing African talent, revealing a wellspring of potential that has broadened the game's horizons. Moreover, the celebratory styles, dances, and vibrant expressions of African footballers have added to the pageantry of the sport, making it a more captivating global spectacle and enriching the cultural tapestry of football with the diverse traditions of the African continent.

German Version

Hier ist eine Liste einiger der besten afrikanischen Fußballspieler aller Zeiten, wobei beachtet werden muss, dass dies auf deren Leistungen, Auszeichnungen und allgemeinen Einfluss auf den Sport basiert. Diese Liste kann nicht erschöpfend sein und wird sicherlich-zu unterschiedlichen Meinungen führen, da es viele herausragende afrikanische Fußballer gibt:

  1. Aus Liberia stammt George Weah, der als einziger Afrikaner 1995 den Ballon d'Or gewann.
  2. Kameruns Roger Milla bleibt unvergessen für seine beispielhaften Leistungen bei FIFA-Weltmeisterschaften.
  3. Der kamerunische Stürmer Samuel Eto'o, ein viermaliger Gewinner der Auszeichnung Afrikas Fußballer des Jahres.
  4. Didier Drogba aus der Elfenbeinküste, der zweimal zum besten Fußballer Afrikas gekürt wurde.
  5. Abedi Pele, ein Ghaneer, der dreimal in Folge Afrikas bester Fußballer war.
  6. Yaya Touré aus der Elfenbeinküste, der sowohl für den FC Barcelona als auch für Manchester City spielerische Brillanz zeigte und viermal als Afrikas Fußballer des Jahres ausgezeichnet wurde.
  7. Nwankwo Kanu brachte Nigeria Ruhm als zweimaliger Titelträger des afrikanischen Fußballers des Jahres.
  8. Jay-Jay Okocha aus Nigeria faszinierte Fußballfans mit seinen atemberaubenden Dribblings.
  9. Der Ägypter Mohamed Salah, bekannt für seine beeindruckenden Torerfolge in der englischen Premier League.
  10. Riyad Mahrez aus Algerien spielte eine Schlüsselrolle im Triumph Algeriens beim Afrika-Cup 2019.

Diese Liste könnte noch durch viele weitere Namen ergänzt werden, und viele der genannten Spieler sind noch aktiv oder ihre Karrieren sind noch nicht lange genug vorbei, um sie in einer historischen Perspektive vollständig einzuordnen. Afrika hat viele talentierte Spieler hervorgebracht, und sicherlich werden in Zukunft weitere dazu kommen.

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