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5 Iconic African Footballers We Love

As we delve further into AFCON 2024, memories go back to some of the best African footballers to have ever represented these famous nations on a football field.

The Best African Footballers Ever

I’m not stupid enough to be drawn into this conversation.

All you have to do is Google that phrase to realise how touchy this topic is.

Hence why we are going to focus on a player’s icon status in this article for Hobby FC. Where certain entrants might look alien next to the other in terms of ability, but are equally well-remembered.

Let’s start with a legend we’ve referred to before.

George Weah – Liberia

One of the most wholesome football tales there is.

The story goes that Mr. Weah was destined for a journeyman career before the wide reach of Arsene Wenger revealed him as a candidate for his centre forward issue at Monaco.

A few late night runs and a whole lot of faith later, George Weah was representing the biggest clubs in the world, winning a Ballon D’Or and journeying the globe on his terms.

All while respecting and championing his native Liberia. What a hero.

Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast

Another hero – and this one apparently stopped a war.

A common adage in football commentary today is to highlight a player’s ability to appear in ‘big games’ just as adequately as they do against ‘lesser’ opponents.

Suffice to say, Drogba’s name comes up as one of the best ‘big game players’.

Couple that with an extensive trophy cabinet (mainly earned at Chelsea) and rave reviews from all his opponents, and you have one of the most dominant African footballers of all time.

Jay-Jay Okocha – Nigeria

I could have easily picked Nwankwo Kanu for Nigeria, but I’ll go with Jay-Jay.

So good, they named him… *yawn*… yeah, yeah whatever.

We’ve talked about him before here, so forgive my desire to repeat that saying again!

Being Gen Z (by the skin of my teeth), I only really saw Okocha when he turned out for that weird wannabe Galacticos era for Bolton Wanderers in the early 2000’s.

But having seen what he could do before that, it’s no wonder that he’s captured the imagination of anybody who watched him, and has no doubt inspired a number of other future Nigerian players to don their famous green strip. Including, apparently, Alex Iwobi.

Roger Milla – Cameroon

I was going to start waxing lyrical about Samuel Eto’o, until I realised that he wouldn’t have been the player that he ultimately became without the inspiration provided by Roger Milla.

The dancing Cameroonian defied all odds during his long and respectful career.

But none more so than at the FIFA World Cup in 1990 (‘Italia 90‘) where he shimmied his way into the hearts of everyone who watched him as he proved that age might just in fact, be but a number.

A pin-up boy for all African footballers of any generation that came after him.

Mohamed Salah – Egypt

One of the greatest African footballers of all time.

Arguably the greatest that the Premier League has ever seen.

The unbelievable ability and consistency exhibited by Mohamed Salah in a Liverpool shirt has been a miraculous thing to witness – unless you’re a Man United fan like I am.

And as he winds down his career with the years slowly beginning to trickle by, we may curse the day where we didn’t watch on and appreciate how great he has truly been.


You can’t help but love these lot, can you?

Notwithstanding what they’ve done for their clubs, each of them have been a strong and gloried advocate for the causes and advancement of the sport in their nation.

A priceless and dwindling commodity in this age that will never be forgotten.

Which of these African footballers make your all-time list?