The CAF African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is the most prestigious football competition in Africa. This is majorly due to the talented African players who have played football in some of the biggest leagues in the world and with some of the top clubs in world football.
The competition has grown bigger over time and this has led to an increase in the number of participating teams from 3 countries when it originally started to 16 teams in the final tournament post the qualifiers.
The AFCON has been the pride of Africa for many years, and it brings unity among diverse populations.
Here are some of the best football players in the history of AFCON that have achieved lots of success for club and country.
#1 – Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)
Recognised as Africa’s player of the century and definitely one of football’s greats, Samuel Eto’o has earned many achievements throughout his career.
He won a football Olympic gold medal in 2000 with Cameroon and an amazing 4 CAF African Player of the Year awards.
He won the UEFA Champions League 3 times when he won it in 2006 and 2009 with Barcelona, followed by winning it with Inter Milan in 2010. He is the only African player to have won the Champions League 3 times, so far.
Eto’o was very hard working and dedicated in his career. His pace made him a nightmare for defenders so it is no surprise that he is Cameroon’s all-time leading goal scorer and AFCON’s all-time leading scorer as well.
There is no doubt that he is, if not the greatest African to play football then, one of the greatest to ever lace up his boots.
#2 – Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast)
Yaya Toure was the best midfielder in Africa and one of the top 10 midfielders globally, during his time.
The Ivorian had a very successful period in his career as a midfielder.
He won the CAF African Player of the Year award 4 times, just like Samuel Eto’o.
He had a successful time in Barcelona but after joining Manchester City, he became unstoppable and was integral to the club’s success.
He was only the second midfielder ever to score 20 goals in a Premier League season in 2014 after Frank Lampard, at the time.
His success was not limited to just club level, however. He won the 2015 AFCON with Cote d’Ivoire to cap off a perfect career.
#3 – Roger Milla (Cameroon)
Roger Milla is considered one of the greatest African players ever.
What makes Milla so special that he still holds the record for being the oldest player ever to score at a FIFA World Cup final aged 42 in 1994.
He scored 438 goals in 794 games over his career and played for a number of clubs in Africa and France.
Milla won the CAF African Player of the Year twice and two AFCONs in 1984 and 1988 with Cameroon.
#4 – Essam El-Hadary (Egypt)
The most exemplary and most outstanding goalkeeper of all time, Essam El-Haddary, won numerous career titles.
To be precise, the legendary goalkeeper was so decorated that 4 AFCON championships with Egypt and 4 CAF Champions League titles with Al Ahly.
He won 26 trophies with Al Ahly SC in 12 years! Essam El-Hadary kept a clean sheet in 3 consecutive AFCON finals and was crucial to the Pharaohs’ success in the continental competition.
He was selected to CAF’s Team of the Tournament 3 times and at the age of 45, he became the oldest player to play at a World Cup match in 2018.
He played for the Egypt national team for an incredible 22 years.
#5 – Hossam Hassan (Egypt)
Hossam Hassan is the all-time leading scorer for Egypt’s national football team. His career spanned over an amazing 24 years in which he bagged 69 goals in 179 caps for Egypt.
Hassan was a remarkable player. He had two spells at Al Ahly where he had his biggest successes in club football.
Over 2 spells with the Egyptian giants, Hassan scored 109 goals in 231 appearances. He also had 38 goals in just 61 appearances for Zamalek before moving to rivals Al Ahly.
Hassan had 176 caps and 68 goals for his country and won 3 AFCON titles in 1986, 1998 and 2006. He also won the All-Africa Games in 1987. He finished as the AFCON top scorer in 1998 along with Benni McCarthy and was awarded with the Best African Footballer in the Last 50 Years by CAF.
Hossam Hassan won it all with Zamalek first and then with Al Ahly.
He won 10 trophies with Zamalek over 4 years including 3 Egyptian Premier League titles, 1 Egyptian Cup, 2 Egyptian Super Cups, 1 CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup.
He won 25 trophies with Al Ahly over 12 years including 11 league titles, 4 cups, 4 African Cup Winners’ Cups and an African Cup of Champions Clubs.
Due to his success, he remains one of the greatest ever players to play for Egypt and is one of the most successful players in AFCON history.
For those who do not know, African football is one of the most entertaining in the world. The Africa Cup of Nations is one of the most enthralling and entertaining football tournaments in the world!
The players and their matches are extremely competitive and is not short of being at a world-class level. It is challenging to be successful in football betting when it comes to the AFCON.
African players are very determined, hard-working, and strong. They are always trying to improve themselves and give their best on the field. Africans are now leading the world’s best teams and dominating in the top leagues.
Although the players and teams have been good to watch, the biggest charm about African football is the unconditional love of the football fans in the continent. Do not miss a chance to watch and experience the AFCON!