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All the African Footballer of the Year Award winners from George Weah, Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, and Kanu Nwankwo

See all the African Footballer of Year Award winners since 1970 to 2019 featuring Kanu Nwankwo, Didier Drogba, and Samuel Eto’o

The CAF Men’s Player of the Year award is set to take centre stage again, after a two-year hiatus.

Africa’s Footballer of the Year award, presented to the best African footballer each year, has been conferred by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) since 1992.

An earlier African Footballer of the Year Golden Ball award was given out between 1970 and 1994 by France Football magazine.

Starting with those who have won multiple awards, Pulse Sports Nigeria lists all the men who been recognized as Africa’s best player since 1970.

N’Kono to date remains the only goalkeeper to have won Africa’s Footballer of the Year award and is one of the greatest goalkeepers to have ever sprung from the continent of Africa.

After his performance with Canon Yaounde earned him an African Footballer of the Year award in 1979, N’Kono moved to Spain to play for Espanyol. He hardly ever missed a game while with the Catalans that season and, with his solid performances in the 1992 FIFA World Cup, N’Kono was awarded another player of the year honour in 1982.

Following a fabulous season in the French Ligue that saw Lens qualify for the UEFA Champions League and, Senegal stun heavyweights at the World Cup to get to the quarterfinals of the competition, Diouf was crowned as Africa’s best footballer of the year, 2001.

He was awarded a second consecutive African Footballer of the Year award in 2002, having put up an impressive performance during his Premier League debut season with Liverpool. Her also helped Senegal finish as runners-up at the 2002 AFCON hosted by Mali.

Nwankwo Kanu was one of the stars of Nigeria’s golden generation and is considered one of the greatest Nigerian players to have ever played the game. His performances in 1996 with both the national team at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics and Inter Milan, saw him named as the African Player of the Year.

After once again blowing up the football world – this time with Arsenal – including scoring a hat-trick in just fifteen minutes against Chelsea in October 1999 to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory, Kanu was named Africa’s Footballer of the Year three years later.

Following his move to Liverpool, Salah had some of the greatest individual successes ever recorded by an African. In his debut season, the Egyptian became the Premier’s League’s all-time highest goalscorer for a 38-game season and helped Liverpool to their first UEFA Champions League final in 11 years.

The Egyptian was awarded the African Footballer of the Year Award for both 2017 and 2018 as a result of his performances in England and Europe, which extended into the 2018 season.

Milla was one of the first African players to be major stars on the international stage, playing in three World Cups for Cameroon. Milla most remarkably left his mark in the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Before his award-winning 1990 football year, Milla’s performances in the African Cup Winners’ Cup (now CAF Confederations Cup), saw him named the African Footballer of the Year in 1976.

Drogba had unforgettable seasons with Chelsea, dominating the African football scene between 2003 and 2013.

After helping Chelsea win the Premier League, finishing as the league’s top scorer, winning the FA Cup, the League Cup, and captaining Cote d’Ivoire to their second Africa Cup of Nations final, Drogba was named as the 2006 African Player of the Year. He also helped them qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup,

He was crowned for a second time in 2009 after he repeated his performances on both the club and national scene.

Abedi Pele played for several European clubs but found his fame in the French Ligue 1 with Lille and Marseille. It was at the latter that he won the UEFA Champions League in 1993, amongst other titles.

After spearheading perhaps Europe’s strongest league side of the early 1990s, including heading to a European Cup final defeat, Pele won his first African Player of the Year Award in 1991.

He received two more Footballer of the Year awards in 1992 and 1993, for his dazzling performances on the club scene and at the 1992 AFCON.

After signing with Arsene Wenger at Monaco in 1988, Weah rose to become one of the best players in not just Africa, but also in the World. He was awarded the African Footballer of the Year, for the first time in 1989.

He won the award again five years later while playing for PSG – after helping them to the French league title in 1994.

An even more prolific 1995 season saw Weah dominate with PSG, and his new club AC Milan. He won the French Cup double, topped the Champions League scorers chart, and also helped AC Milan to the Italian league in 1996.

He remains the only African to have won the Ballon d’Or, having done so in 1995, alongside a third African Player of the Year award.

Often regarded as one of the best players in the world to have played in his position, Toure was voted African Footballer of the Year for a joint-record four times in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

His dominance with Manchester City saw him help the club to multiple titles in this timeframe. He also played a big role in Ivory Coast’s run to the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations where they lost to Zambia.

Toure crowned his career with a victory at the 2015 AFCON tournament, Ivory Coast’s first-ever AFCON triumph.

Eto’o had his name on everyone’s lips between 2003 and 2006, and then again in 2010: particularly for his performances with Mallorca, Barcelona and Inter Milan.

In his five seasons at Camp Nou, Eto’o scored 130 goals for Barcelona, helping them to the La Liga title in 2005, and 2009. He also won the UEFA Champions League in 2009 (with Barcelona), and then 2010 (with Inter Milan).

He won the Italian double in 2010, and the FIFA Club World Cup. His undeniable brilliance helped Eto’o pick up his fourth African Footballer of the Year award in 2010.

Salif Keita (Mali) – 1970

Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana) – 1971

Cherif Souleymane (Guinea) – 1972

Bwanga Tshimne (Zaire/DR Congo) – 1973

Paul Moukila (Congo Republic) – 1974

Ahmed Faras (Morocco) – 1975

Tarak Dhiab (Tunisia) – 1977

Karim AbdulRazak (Ghana) – 1978

Jean Manga-Onguene (Cameroon) – 1980

Lakhdar Belloumi (Algeria) – 1981

Mahmoud El Khatib (Egypt) – 1983

Theophile Abega (Cameroon) – 1984

Mohamed Timoumi (Morocco) – 1985

Ezzaki Badou (Morocco) – 1986

Rabah Madjer (Algeria) – 1987

Kalusha Bwalya (Zambia) – 1988

Emmanuel Amunike (Nigeria) – 1994

Victor Ikpeba (Nigeria) – 1997

Mustapha Hadji (Morocco) – 1998

Patrick M’Boma (Cameroon) – 2000

Frederic Kanoute (Mali) – 2007

Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) – 2008

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) – 2015

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) – 2016

Sadio Mane (Senegal) – 2019


Content contributor at AFAL [African Alert]. Sarah is a passionate copywriter who stalks celebrities all day.

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