Throughout the most recent decade or somewhere in the vicinity, Africa has emerged as a region that is ideal for the growth and development of the most amazing talents in football all over the world. Consequently, the focus of many clubs has been shifted to the African continent in search of talented players that can positively shape European football.
Some of the household names of these African footballers include Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto’o, and Didier Drogba. These players were the best African footballers among several other people who became easily recognized names in football. The beautiful thing about it all is that more and more of these talents are coming up as the day does. The aforestated is just like the popular axiom that goes, the beautiful ones are not yet born, right?
Sports24.com.ng brings to you, the top 10 best African footballers in 2020. You wouldn’t want to skip one as embedded in this article is all you need to know about these top African talents in football. So, do well to read to the end. Do enjoy the ride!
In no particular order, the top 10 best African footballers in 2020 include:
- Sadio Mane – Left Winger
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Striker
- Mohamed Salah – Right Winger
- Hakim Ziyech – Left Central Midfielder
- Riyadh Mahrez – Right Central Midfielder
- Thomas Partey – Central Defensive Midfielder
- Victor Osimhen – Striker
- Joel Matip – Central Back
- Kalidou Koulibaly – Central Back
- Achraf Hakimi – Right Back
1. Sadio Mane
Having an eye for goal, Sadio Mane, one of the best African footballers, is Salah’s teammate and plays in the opposite flank to Salah’s. Mane has been known for his expertise in breaking through defenses in England as well as in Europe. This was played out in his finishing joint top-scorer in the 2018-19 PL campaign alongside Salah with 22 goals in that campaign.
The Senegalese attacker didn’t stop in his having an eye for goals as he followed up the aforementioned with a tally of 18 goals and 7 assists in the recently concluded edition EPL.
Country-wise, Mane’s impact is also felt as he played an important part in his country run to the finals of the 2019 African Cup of Nations Cup. Furthermore, he bagged the African Footballer of the Year honorary award subsequently.
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is among the 10 best African footballers, experienced a poor 2019-20 Premier League season with his team, Arsenal. Despite this, it is worthy of note that he was among the very few positives of his club’s poor season. The Gabonese international was instrumental in the 14th FA Cup triumph.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the highest goal for Gabon and in 2015 and became the first from his country to win the African Footballer of Year honorary award.
3. Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah is one of the best African footballers 2020 and a household name in the world of football. The Egyptian international has won laurels such as the Champions League and the English Premier League. In addition, he has achieved several feats, and has won the Golden boot among his other notable achievements as a Liverpool forward which has been quite a good time.
Known for his mastery in goal scoring, he has notched 32, 22, and 19 goals in that order in each of the last three seasons in the English Premier League. Country-wise, Salah guided Egypt to the final of the AFCON in 2017 and won the African Player of the Year award in 2017 and 2018. This is sure proof of his stature in the game of football.
4. Hakim Ziyech
Hakim Ziyech is one of the best African footballers 2020 and had a successful four-year contract at Ajax before moving to Chelsea, which was considered to be the next big step of his career. His influence in the Dutch club’s attack was highly felt as he often managed his way through opening up resolute defenses of the opponent.
Before the suspension of football last season, the season had the Moroccan international notch eight goals and create16 assists across 32 matches in all competitions for Ajax.
The Moroccan international hit it hard in the 2018-19 season when he notched 16 goals and assisted 13 in a total of 29 league matches, and this was quite an exciting one for the Blues.
5. Riyadh Mahrez
Riyadh Mahrez is not just one of the best African footballers but is also one of the best wingers in the English Premier League over the last half a decade or more. Not minding that it was his first year at the club, he won the domestic treble with Manchester City in the 2018-19 season. The last season had him regularly featured on the right of a front-three wherein he scored 12 goals and assisted 13 across 48 games for Manchester City.
In addition to his feats, in AFCON 2019, the Algeria attacker scored three goals in the tournament, which included a stunning stoppage-time goal via a free-kick against Nigeria in the semi-final .This stunner led his country to the finals that had them win their first AFCON triumph since 1990.
More so, Mahrez was named CAF’s African Footballer of the Year in 2016 and went ahead to secure the 2019 African Goal of the Year award for his free-kick strike that didn’t miss the net thereby sending Nigeria to the third-place match in the tournament.
6. Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey is one of the best African footballers and beyond that, has set up himself as one of the most accomplished central defensive midfielders in world football. The Ghanaian midfielder’s comprehensive displays earned him a regular connection with a host of European clubs. This shouldn’t be a surprise as he is good at what he does.
The 27-year-old is a two-time consecutive winner of the Ghana Player of the Year awards in both 2018 and 2019. This was possible due to his consistent performance for the club as well as the country.
7. Victor Osimhen
Currently in Napoli, after selling Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal for £72 million in the summer, LOSC Lille turned to Nigeria’s Osimhen, but even they could not have imagined the Nigerian ‘s impact.
He seamlessly made the step up from Belgian football, and currently has 13 league goals, consistently spread throughout the campaign.
In the Champions League, Osimhen also netted twice for Lille and established himself as the leading scorer of the Super Eagles following Odion Ighalo’s retirement.
8. Joel Matip
Joel Matip is one of the best African footballers and Koulibaly’s partner in the immediate English Premier League winners, Liverpool FC squad. Positioned at the center back of the squad, the Cameroonian defender has been termed terrific in the last couple of years. This is evident by his making it to the list of the CAF African team of the year for 2019.
The last term had Joel Matip showing up in only twelve appearances in all competitions as he was restricted by injuries. This restricted him from making a major impact in the season.
The Cameroonian and Liverpool FC’s central back defender lifted the English Premier League trophy with Liverpool and also contributed immensely in making them lift the trophy as he started in six of the seven knock-out matches, including the final in Madrid.
9. Kalidou Koulibaly
The central back Senegalese, Kalidou Koulibaly, is known for by his lofty high standards, which was a detriment to him in his not enjoying one of his better seasons. That nonetheless, he remains one of those still making a mark in the world of football at his center-half wing. He is known for having the ball at his command and has earned a pass completion rate of 92.2% for this.
Aged 29, he played a major role in leading Senegal to the final of the African Cup of Nations 2019 but though they lost to the champions Algeria, this proved his organizational and leadership skills.
10. Achraf Hakimi
Having spent two exceptionally successful seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, the young Real Madrid product, Achraf Hakimi, sealed a move to Inter Milan this summer to continue earning plenty of applause from spectators.
Achraf Hakimi from the full-back role has unimaginably amassed 10 goals and the same number of assists across all competitions in the previous term. The 21-year-old’s exceptionality in the game earned him a feature in the first-team at Dortmund. Being in Antonio Conte’s team, Inter, presently, it will be a perfect fit for him to further refine his game under the tutelage of the experienced Italian coach.